The Supreme Court will hear the two petitions seeking review of its verdict on the controversial Rafale fighter jet case on February 26. The apex court’s December 14 verdict had dismissed pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices L Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna had conveyed to advocate Prashant Bhushan on Thursday that it would look into requests to hear review petitions against its December 14, 2018 verdict.
Along with Bhushan, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie had moved the apex court seeking a review of its judgment in the case, and alleged that the SC relied upon “incorrect claims” made by the Centre. The hearing of the pleas will be conducted in chambers and not in open court.
Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan have claimed that the judgement was based on “errors apparent on the face of the record” and non-consideration of subsequent information which has come to light would cause a grave miscarriage of justice. Besides seeking review of the judgement, they have also sought hearing of the plea in an open court.
The CJI had pointed out that the combination of judges that heard the Rafale matter was different and that the current combination in which he was sitting would have to be changed to bring back the old one.
In its December 14 order, a bench of CJI Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph had dismissed PILs that sought a court-monitored probe into the multi-billion dollar deal for purchase of 36 Rafale jets from France.
One of the issues raised by the petitioners was the choice of Reliance Aerostructure Ltd as an offset partner by Dassault Aviation Ltd, which manufactures Rafale. They alleged that the deal was tweaked to favour the Anil Ambani-owned company.
Earlier this month, a CAG report on Capital Acquisitions in Indian Air Force, which was tabled in the Rajya Sabha, noted that the Rafale deal negotiated by the NDA government was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the one of the UPA.