Rafale deal: Supreme Court asks govt for details of decision-making process

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 10, 2018, 11.30 AM(IST)

File photo: The Supreme Court of India. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The court asked for the details in a sealed cover, while clarifying that it did not want information on the deal's pricing and technical details.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central government for details of the decision-making process in the Rafale deal. 

PTI reported that the court asked for the details in a sealed cover, while clarifying that it did not want information on the deal's pricing and technical details. 

The opposition has accused the Narendra Modi-led government of corruption in the Rafale deal.  

An original deal to buy 126 Rafale fighter planes from France's Dassault Aviation had been brokered by the UPA government. Then, in 2015, Modi signed a new government-to-government deal with then French president Francois Hollande to buy 36 of the planes. 

The opposition — led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi — says the NDA government is paying three times as much as the UPA government had agreed to pay for every Rafale. The opposition has also accused the government of crony capitalism. 

According to India's defence acquisition rules, a foreign company making a large sale to India has to funnel 30% of the money paid to it back into India. That by definition requires it to have an Indian partner or partners. 

The original Indian partner in the Rafale deal was the public sector HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd). But HAL was turfed out of the new deal, in favour of Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence which has little to no experience in the defence and aerospace industries. 

The government had earlier said it was Dassault which chose Reliance and they had nothing to do with it but Hollande, while on a trip to India, recently said it was the Indian government which had suggested Reliance's name. 

The Supreme court was on Wednesday hearing various petitions against the Rafale deal. The petitions seek directions from the top court, including asking the Centre to reveal details of the Rafale deal and the comparative prices of the deals brokered by the UPA and the NDA governments. 

The Supreme Court bench hearing the petitions on Wednesday comprised Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph. 

(With inputs from PTI)