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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Supreme Court dismisses Rafale deal review petitions, BJP says ‘truth triumphs’

Former ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and lawyer Prashant Bhushan were among those who had filed the review pleas against the December 2018 verdict that dismissed pleas seeking a court-monitored probe of alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2019 12:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to review its 2018 verdict that dismissed pleas seeking a court-monitored probe of alleged irregularities in the Rafale fighter jet deal with French plane maker Dassault Aviation.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to review its 2018 verdict that dismissed pleas seeking a court-monitored probe of alleged irregularities in the Rafale fighter jet deal with French plane maker Dassault Aviation.(Reuters)
         

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to change its December 2018 verdict that dismissed pleas seeking a court-monitored probe of alleged irregularities in the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal with French plane maker Dassault Aviation.

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Dismissing a batch of petitions seeking a review of the order, the top court bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, SK Kaul and KM Joseph said, “ We cannot lose sight of the fact we are dealing with contract pending with government for long. Prayer made by petitioner was for registration of FIR and CBI enquiry...this is not a fresh examination as they were considered earlier on merit.”

Justice KM Joseph, though concurring with the order, authored his own view saying probe agencies can go ahead and investigate the matter on their own.

The BJP reacted with jubilation to the Supreme Court’s decision saying truth has triumphed . “Truth triumphs. Truth can be bothered but not defeated,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.

The bench had earlier reserved its verdict on the review petitions on May 10. Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and lawyer Prashant Bhushan were among those who had filed the review pleas.

In its arguments on May 10, the government argued that nowhere in the world do courts scrutinise agreements related to defence purchases and opposed the reopening of the Rafale case. Sinha, Shourie, and Bhushan had also sought perjury proceedings against the Centre for allegedly suppressing information. They claimed that the government misled the court ahead of its December 2018 verdict.

The petitioners accused the government of deliberately concealing crucial notings related to the deal. They maintained that this included a dissent note of three members of the Indian negotiating team, alleging that it vitiates the December 2018 verdict and necessitates a criminal inquiry into the matter.