New Delhi: The Supreme Court observed that there was no case of commercial favouritism into the Rafale fighter jet deal, said Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hours after the apex court dismissed all petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the Rafale fighter jet deal with France.
“Due process followed in Rafale deal, the court has observed there was no case of commercial favouritism,” said Sitharaman while addressing a press conference here.
Explaining that the central government had to buy 36 aircraft due to time lost, she said: “The UPA wanted to buy 18 aircraft and manufacture the rest. We bought 36 aircraft due to time lost.”
Quoting the Supreme Court’s judgement on the Rafale deal, Sitharaman asserted: “There is no scope for complicity when other nations have acquired powerful weapons”.
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.
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed all petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the Rafale fighter jet deal with France, saying that there was no occasion to doubt decision-making process in the deal. The top court said it was not its job to go into the issue of pricing.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said that there is no need to conduct an investigation into details of Rafale pricing.
“We are satisfied that there is no occasion to doubt the process. Joint exercises have taken place and there is no element of financial benefits. Detailed scrutiny of RafaleDeal deal is not required,” said Gogoi.