The Congress on Monday gave notices of breach of privilege in both Houses of Parliament, demanding an explanation from the government on why it provided the Supreme Court “wrong” information on the Rafale deal.
While Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad sent the notice to the chairman of the Upper House, Congress’ leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge Kharge gave the notice in the Lower House.
“I have given a breach of privilege notice against the government and in particular against Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as it was the Law Ministry that gave the go ahead for presenting the affidavit before the Supreme Court,” he said.
This is the first time that a government has provided wrong information to the Supreme Court, he said.
“This is why our demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) becomes more relevant. We demand that a JPC be formed to probe the theft in the Rafale deal,” Mr. Azad said.
“We have no faith in this government as it is misleading the Supreme Court by giving false information and is also misleading the people of the country,” he alleged.
The Congress, through its notices, is demanding answers from the law minister on why the government provided wrong information to the Supreme Court about the CAG report on the Rafale pricing issue, he said.
The Congress on Sunday urged the Supreme Court to recall its Rafale judgment and issue notices to the Central government for contempt of court and perjury, alleging the Centre provided false information to the apex court.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma alleged that the government was guilty of committing breach of privilege of both Houses of Parliament by claiming that the CAG report on Rafale aircraft pricing was presented to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed pleas alleging irregularities in the Rafale deal, saying there was no occasion to “really doubt the decision-making process” warranting setting aside of the defence contract for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
In its judgment, the court made a reference to a CAG report on the aircraft deal. It said the CAG report was examined by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
But the Congress insisted that the government presented “wrong facts” before the court during the hearing of pleas challenging the aircraft deal with France, which gave the government relief in the cases.
On Saturday, the Centre moved the Supreme Court seeking correction in the judgment, saying “misinterpretation” of its note “resulted in a controversy in the public domain”.
The Centre made it clear that it did not say the CAG report was examined by the PAC or a redacted portion was placed before Parliament. It clarified the note had said the government “has already shared” the price details with CAG, written in past tense and “is factually correct”.