SC Rafale verdict: Petitioner Prashant Bhushan calls judgement ‘incorrect’

New Delhi: “It is a totally incorrect judgement,” stated petitioner Prashant Bhushan moments after the apex court dismissed batch of petitions that demanded a probe into the controversial Rafale fighter jets deal stating that it was satisfied that the process for procurement had been followed.

“We have just asked for an investigation constitute a Special Investigation Team under the supervision of the Supreme Court to investigate the reasons for cancellation of an earlier deal for the purchase of 126 Rafale fighter jets. This decision is wrong in my opinion. The court has given this order citing scope of limited judicial review,” Bhushan told reporters after the verdict.

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed all petitions pertaining to multi-million dollar Rafale fighter jets deal.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, stated 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 exercise has taken place and there is no element of financial benefits,” said CJI Gogoi.

The CJI added that “Detailed scrutiny of RafaleDeal deal is not required.”

However, Bhushan alleged that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led-government at the Centre did not follow the defence procurement procedure while sealing the deal with France’s Dassault Aviation.

“In accordance with the law, the demand for purchasing the fighter jets must first be raised by the Indian Air Force chief. If one looks closely, the Air Force over the last couple of years has stated that they require at least 126 jets. After the Air Force, the Defence Accusation Council should have taken a call on how many jets are actually required and of what kind. The tender is then issued in the public domain. But in this case, Prime Minister Modi, all of a sudden flew to France and signed a deal with Dassault Aviation for 36 Rafale fighters,” he said.

Bhushan also pointed fingers at the pricing of the aircraft and alleged that earlier the budget for purchasing them was fixed at 5.2 million Euros but unilaterally the Cabinet Committee headed by Prime Minister Modi increased the money from 5.2 million Euros to 7.8 million Euros, causing a loss of Rs 20,000 crore to public exchequer”.

The activist lawyer also added that he is yet to take a call on filing the review petition on the latest Supreme Court’s verdict.