Rafale row: Centre has embarrassed SC, says Kapil Sibal

New Delhi: After the Centre filed an application before the Supreme Court seeking correction in its judgement on Rafale fighter jet deal, the Congress party has said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has brought an embarrassment to the apex court.

A day after the Supreme Court delivered verdict in the Rafale deal case, the central government on Saturday filed an application before it, seeking a correction in the order to make it clear that the pricing aspect, examined by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), has not been looked into by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as yet.

Speaking to ANI, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “It’s very unfortunate because what’s now being stated by the government is really blaming the court for misinterpreting the points they had placed before the court in a sealed cover.”

“The fact of the matter is they should have said ‘while pricing details have been shared with the CAG, the matter is not yet brought to PAC’. The Supreme Court relied upon what they said, and gave an order. Now they are embarrassed and have embarrassed the court as well. This is not the only part of judgement that’s factually incorrect,” he added.

The apex court on December 14 dismissed all the petitions seeking probe into the Rafale deal stating that it was “satisfied” with the Central government’s decision-making process.

However, the Centre sought urgent correction in the wording of a particular paragraph in the order “in the interests of justice and in the facts and circumstances of the case”, while noting that “the observations in the judgement have resulted in a controversy.”

In its application, accessed by the ANI, the union government pointed out that error in two sentences appears to have occurred, perhaps, on account of a misinterpretation of a couple of sentences in a note handed over to the apex court in a sealed cover.

The government clarified that it had only submitted a “description of procedure” by the CAG, which the Supreme Court appears to have mistaken “is” for “has been”.

The government’s application refers to Para 25 of the judgement which reads: “The pricing details have, however, been shared with Comptroller and Auditor General [hereinafter referred to as “CAG”], and the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee [hereinafter referred to as “PAC”]. Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament and is in public domain.”

The Rafale jet deal controversy has been on the boil over the last few months. The Congress and other opposition parties have been alleging irregularities in the high-profile deal. The fighter jet is a twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, which security analysts believe can be a ‘game-changer’ for India’s defence system.