Congress Says Govt Application Blames Supreme Court for ‘Factual Bloomer’ in Rafale Verdict
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the government presented "wrong facts" before the Supreme Court which led to "factual bloomers" in the Rafale aircraft deal judgment.
New Delhi: Accusing the Narendra Modi government of lying about the Rafale fighter jets deal in the Supreme Court, the Congress has said that it was now trying to place the burden on the top court through its application seeking “factual corrections” in the judgment.
Addressing a press conference late on Saturday, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the government presented "wrong facts" before the Supreme Court which led to "factual bloomers" in the Rafale aircraft deal judgment.
“Through this application, it seems they have put the burden on the Supreme Court. They should have explained it clearly. The government tried to hide many things from the Supreme Court. The facts did not come up in front of the SC. I do not know what the court will do now. The government has tried to hide the truth from the people and till now they have be successful,” Sibal said.
Sibal said the Supreme Court has not gone into the pricing and technical aspects of the aircraft and it is only a joint parliamentary committee that can probe whether there was any irregularity in the deal.
Sibal pointed to a part of Friday's judgment in which the court said the material placed before it shows the Centre did not disclose in Parliament the pricing details of the fighter jet but revealed it to the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Reacting to this, Sibal said Mallikarjun Kharge, the chairman of PAC, has said he never received any such report on Rafale jet. "Who is responsible for this? It was the government who said this. How did the attorney general pass the affidavit?" he said.
"I call them factual bloomers in the judgment for which the government is responsible, not the court. If you give wrong facts to the court, and on that basis the government makes a factual assertion, then the government is squarely responsible for it and I think that we need to call the Attorney General to the PAC and get these issues clarified as to why they made these assertions before the court through an affidavit and why such an affidavit was filed which did not reflect the true facts," Sibal said.
He also rebuked the government for not reading its own affidavits. "This is a very serious matter and there should be an action in this case because the message among people is that CAG has cleared and Parliament has seen the deal, which is wrong," he said.
Sibal said the court has neither gone into pricing nor into the technical aspects of the deal. "The Congress party has always said that Supreme Court is not the appropriate forum to decide on issues of corruption, pricing, specifications, crony capitalism in the Rafale case," he said.
The former Union minister noted that the court cannot summon and examine all the files notings, examine witnesses on oath, including questioning the prime minister and the defence ministry.
"How can they (the BJP) say that the Supreme Court has given a clean chit to the government. If you (the government) have not given the evidence, nothing, if the cross-examination has not happened then who gave you a clean chit. Only a JPC, which will be formed sooner or later, can probe this," he said.
In relief to the Modi government, the Supreme Court had on Friday dismissed the pleas challenging the deal between India and France for 36 Rafale jets, saying there was no occasion to "really doubt the decision making process" warranting setting aside of the contract.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dealt with "three broad areas of concern" raised in the petitions the decision-making process, pricing and the choice of Indian offset partners and said there was no reason for intervention by the court on the "sensitive issue".
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