SC says it will consider listing writ petition on Rafale deal after two weeks

Plea urges registration of FIR for cheating, criminal breach of trust and under Prevention of Corruption Act

April 12, 2021 04:22 pm | Updated April 13, 2021 08:23 am IST - NEW DELHI

Rafale was originally shortlisted in the Medium Multi-Role Contract Aircraft (MMRCA) deal for 126 jets, but the deal got held up over pricing and technology transfer issues.

Rafale was originally shortlisted in the Medium Multi-Role Contract Aircraft (MMRCA) deal for 126 jets, but the deal got held up over pricing and technology transfer issues.

The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider listing after two weeks a writ petition filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma seeking registration of an FIR and an investigation under the Officials Secrets Act into a French media report that France’s anti-corruption agency, Agence Francaise Anticorruption (AFA), found aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation paid €1 one million to an Indian company in connection with the 2016 Rafale deal .

Mr. Sharma mentioned the petition, without explicitly referring to the details, before a Bench led by Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde.

The petition has made Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the first respondent, followed by Sushen Mohan Gupta, Defsys Solutions Private Limited, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited, the Centre and the CBI in that order.

French authorities made no serious attempts to investigate Rafale deal: Media

The petition urged the apex court to order the registration of an FIR under various offences including cheating, criminal breach of trust, Sections under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Official Secrets Act.

It urged the court to issue “appropriate writ direction for cancelling/quashing agreement of September 23, 2016 for the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters from Dassault France for being hit by fraud, corruption and offence under the Official Secrets Act and to recover entire advanced money with penalty and to blacklist Dassault”. Mr. Sharma said the first four respondents should be prosecuted.

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“To prosecute them under the supervision of this court coupled with further direction to issue appropriate writ for quashing inter-government agreement of September 2016, which was the outcome of bribe/corruption,” the petition said.

“The September 2016 deal was signed by the Defence Ministers of India and France and called ‘Rafale deal’, in which India would pay about ₹58,000 crore or €7.8 billion for 36 off-the-shelf Dassault Rafale twin-engine fighters coupled with 15% advance payment of this cost. As per the deal, India will also get spares and weaponry, including the Meteor missile, considered one of the most advanced in the world,” the petition said.

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