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SC dismisses Rafale review pleas seeking criminal probe

SC dismisses Rafale review pleas seeking criminal probe

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed review petitions seeking a court-monitored criminal probe in Rafale fighter jet deal between the Indian government and France's Dassault Aviation. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, said the Apex Court verdict has opened a "huge door" and demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the matter.

The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph observed that the petitions "lack merit" and there was no need for registration of an FIR or an inquiry in connection with the Rafale deal.

Meanwhile, in a scathing attack on the Congress, Union Home minister Amit Shah termed the Supreme Court's decision as a "befitting reply" to the leaders as well as the parties who rely on "malicious and baseless" campaign and demanded an apology for them. "Today's decision, yet again, reaffirms Modi sarkar's (government's) credentials as a government which is transparent and corruption free," Shah said in a series of tweets.

"The time could have been better utilised for the welfare of people. After today's rebuke from SC, Congress and its leader, for whom politics is above national interest must apologise to the nation."

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected petitions seeking an inquiry into the Rafale fighter jet deal and warned Gandhi to be "more careful in future" as it closed a contempt case against him linked to the issue.

The top court ruled out any "roving" inquiry into the deal for procuring 36 fighter planes from French company Dassault.

The bench underscored that it wasn't for the court to determine the price at which the jets should have been bought and expressed confidence that the government's internal mechanisms would take care of the situation.

"On the perusal of documents we had found that one cannot compare apples and oranges. Thus, the pricing of the basic aircraft had to be compared which was competitively marginally lower. As to what should be loaded on the aircraft or not and what further pricing should be added has to be left to the best judgment of the competent authorities," justices Gogoi and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said in their main judgment. The third judge on the bench Justice KM Joseph wrote a separate judgment, concurring with the other two judges on rejecting the review petitions.

Maintaining that the review petitions have sought registration of an FIR in connection with Rafale fighter jets deal, the bench said: "We do not consider it to be a fair submission". The Apex Court rejected pleas that had sought re-examination of December 14 judgment seeking a court-monitored investigation into the India-France deal. See P5

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