Supreme Court verdict on Rafale deal settles all doubts: Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at a press conference in New Delhi after the SC verdict on Friday.   | Photo Credit: SANDEEP_SAXENA

The government and the BJP on Friday said that all accusations on the Rafale deal had been laid to rest with the Supreme Court verdict.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the verdict had addressed all three broad issues raised by the petitions, while Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called the allegations “fiction writing” and ruled out any need for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) investigation.

On Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s specific question over a “missing” Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) report that the Supreme Court said was before the Public Accounts Committee, Mr. Jaitley said it would be looked into.

“I think whatever are the contents of the verdict in terms of the procedural details or the narration which has been given, that is not a subject matter of our comment. If there is something required to be done in that regard, I think the lawyers will examine it and do the needful,” he said.

Shah’s query

BJP president Amit Shah demanded an apology from the Congress president for what he termed “lies” levelled against the integrity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government. He demanded that Mr. Gandhi disclose the source of his information on the Rafale deal.

“Mr. Gandhi should also tell us why the UPA government could not finalise the deal between 2007 and 2014? What middleman was meddling with the deal? Why didn’t Congress governments of the past ever try a government-to-government deal in all these years, which would have been more transparent and sans a middleman?” Mr. Shah said.

Ms. Sitharaman’s briefing went into the finer details of the judgment. “On all the three heads on which concerns were expressed in the writ petitions the court has come out clearly,” she said, referring to the decision-making process, pricing and the choice of the Indian Offset Partner (IOP).

She said the court clearly said the nation could not afford to be unprepared in a situation where its adversaries had acquired higher capabilities emphasising the sense of urgency. To make up for time lost during the earlier deal for 126 jets, the government had decided on 36 after consultations with the IAF, Ms. Sitharaman said.

“The IAF said that if there is need and if quickly we can get them in fly-away condition we should get at least two squadrons,” she said.

“Whatever was written and said outside was false. As I said falsehood is short-lived. Falsehood always lowers the credibility of the creator,” Ms. Sitharaman added.


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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 3:41:37 AM |

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