Supreme Court
Supreme Court

Monitoring progress by PMO not same as parallel negotiations: Government affidavit on Rafale review petition

ANI | Updated: May 04, 2019 13:09 IST

New Delhi [India], May 4 (ANI): Monitoring of progress by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) can't be construed as parallel negotiations, claimed the Centre in its affidavit filed before the Supreme Court here on Saturday over review petitions filed against the top court's December 14 judgment on the Rafale deal.
"Monitoring of the progress by PMO of government process cannot be construed as interference or parallel negotiations. The then Hon'ble Raksha Mantri had recorded on file that ... "it appears that PMO and French President's office are monitoring the progress of the issues which was an outcome of the summit meeting," read the affidavit filed by the Centre before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi .
The bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph, will consider on May 6 the affidavit filed by the Centre over pleas challenging the December 14 order of the top court where it had given a clean chit to the Rafale deal.
Centre also claimed that the court's judgment upholding the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France was correct. It said that unsubstantiated media reports and internal file notings, deliberately projected in a selective manner, cannot form the basis for a review.
Citing a CAG report tabled in the Parliament in February this year, the government said: "The reasonability of the price for 36 Rafale through the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) has been established by CAG audit. The price discovery of 126 MMRCA was determined out of a global competitive tender."
"The CAG in its report tabled in the Parliament on February 13, 2019, has brought out that 'usually, in the IGAs for defence capital assets, there are no comparable costs'," it said.
The government further said: "The Defence Acquisition Council on August 28 - September 01, 2015 had directed that better terms should be in terms of price, delivery schedule and maintenance."
The affidavit comes after the apex court on Tuesday directed the Centre to file a response on the pleas challenging the top court's December 14 judgment.
On December 14, 2018, the Supreme Court had dismissed all petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the Rafale fighter jet deal with France, saying that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the deal.
The top court had then said that it was not its job to go into the issue of pricing. The bench, headed by Justice Gogoi, said that there is no need to conduct an investigation into the details of Rafale pricing.
Thereafter petitioners in Rafale fighter jet deal case - Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan - in January moved the Supreme Court for review of the Rafale judgment.
The petition stated that the verdict contains several errors and also it relies upon patently incorrect claims made by the government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover to the court, which is a violation of the principle of natural justice. (ANI)