Updated: November 14, 2018 12:28:25 pm
The Supreme Court Wednesday will examine the documents submitted by the Centre on the Rafale deal with France. The Centre had handed over one set of documents with details of the pricing of the fighter aircraft on Monday in a sealed cover. A second set was given to the petitioners in the case on the decision-making process leading to the award of the contract. The petitioners, who have questioned the government-to-government deal between India and France for purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft in flyaway condition, are likely to respond in court to these documents.
The documents claim that the delay in concluding the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal, during the UPA rule, gave India’s adversaries time to upgrade and equip their fighter fleets with advanced weaponry.
“During this long period of inconclusive 126 MMRCA process, our adversaries inducted modern aircraft and upgraded their older versions. They acquired better capability air-to-air missiles and inducted their indigenous fighters in large numbers. Further, they modernised and inducted aircraft with advanced weapon and radar capabilities,” the government said.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices U U Lalit and K M Joseph, is hearing the case. The bench last month sought details on the pricing of the Rafale jets. “The court would also like to be apprised of the details with regard to the pricing/cost, particularly, the advantage thereof, if any, which again will be submitted to the court in a sealed cover,” the bench said, adding that “details in this regard which may be considered to be strategic and confidential may, at this stage, be placed before the court and may not be furnished to the learned counsel for the parties or the petitioners-in-person”.
The court had set November 14 as the next date of hearing.
The petitioners in the case include former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan. AAP MP Sanjay Singh has also filed a petition.
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