BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday termed as “strange” the NDA government’s move to defend the UPA dispensation’s decision of approving the controversial Jet-Etihad Airways deal.
“Government of India is in violation of the Standing Committee report of Parliament and CAG reports. The previous government (UPA) had taken the decision. The present government is defending it, I am quite surprised by the decision. It’s strange they are supporting the agreement,” Swamy told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, which is hearing his PIL alleging the agreement was illegal and a colossal fraud.
Swamy made his submission after additional solicitor general PS Narasimha opposed the PIL saying that the deal — a bilateral treaty between two sovereign governments - cannot be challenged judicially. “Once two sovereign nations enter into an agreement, it becomes a bilateral treaty,” he said.
The CJI was also surprised at the government’s stand, taken without providing a copy of the agreement to the court. “You are taking us by a surprise. You have not filed the agreement copy. You have not filed the convention,” he told the law officer. Swamy said that “the whole thing was contrived to please the Emir of Dubai”.
However, Jet’s counsel, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, took strong exception to Swamy questioning only the Jet-Etihad deal and not impleading other private airlines also operating international flights from the country.
The bench asked Swamy to amend his petition and make other airlines as respondents in the case. It fixed July 19 to hear the matter further.