Nothing wrong with the RAFALE DEAL, says SC

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The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi was on a visit to Paris in September, 2016. In that visit, he announced the proposal and India signed an inter-government agreement with France which was termed as “RAFALE DEAL”, in which India will pay a sum of INR 58,000 crore or 7.8 billion EUR for 36 off the shelf Dassault Rafale Twin Engine Fighters. Along with this, the deal includes additional clauses such as superior weapon package and logistics support.

Two months later, in November 2016, the political warfare was triggered over the Rafale deal.The Congress has accused the government of wasting the taxpayers money at a huge level by signing the deal worth INR 58,000 crore. They also accused that Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence has been unfairly picked to be French firms Indian partner. Congress states that the cost at which the deal is being made now is 3 times more than that which the previous UPA government had negotiated with France in the year 2012.

These claims were answered by the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Anil Ambani’s Defence Limited, saying that the deals that are done are more transparent and far more better than the deal negotiated by the UPA government earlier. This deal also includes addition clauses or agreements like superior weapon package and logistics support which is an addition to which was then done by the UPA government. Reliance Defence also cleared that the joint venture between Reliance Aerostructure and Dassault Aviation was formed between the two countries. It was the joint venture that was formed between the two private companies and the government has no role to play in this matter.

The Congress kept up its attacks on the government as it refused to table details of the Rafale deal over alleged irregularities. The defence minister Nirmala Sitharam told the parliament earlier that the details with the France cannot be disclosed as per the intergovernmental agreement as it is “classified information”. Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa also denied the allegations and said that the agreement for 36 aircraft was signed with better terms that the one was negotiated under MMRCA tender.

SC’s Stand :- 
In September,2018, the supreme court of India agreed to hear the PIL petitions related to the controversy. The Congress said that they will get the necessary documents before going to the court on the matter. On October 10, the supreme court asked the central government to provide all the details regarding the Rafale Deal and the French Government in a covered seal by October 29.

On December 14,2018, the court dismissed all the petitions seeking a probe into alleged irregularities in the deal and have a clean chit to the Union Government on all three aspects viz, the decision making, pricing and selecting the Indian offset partner. The court said that they had studied the matter carefully and found no wrong doing in that. Chief justice of India Rajan Gogoi while writing judgement for three members hence ruled that, “Adequate military strength and capability to discourage and withstand external aggression and to protect the soverignity and integrity of India, undoubtedly, is a matter of utmost concern for the nation. The empowerment of defence forces with adequate technology and material support is,therefore a matterof vital importance.”

On December 14,2018, the court dismissed all the petitions seeking a probe into alleged irregularities in the deal and have a clean chit to the Union Government on all three aspects viz, the decision making, pricing and selecting the Indian offset partner. The court said that they had studied the matter carefully and found no wrong doing in that. Chief justice of India Rajan Gogoi while writing judgement for three members hence ruled that, “Adequate military strength and capability to discourage and withstand external aggression and to protect the soverignity and integrity of India, undoubtedly, is a matter of utmost concern for the nation. The empowerment of defence forces with adequate technology and material support is,therefore a matterof vital importance.”

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