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Monitoring of Rafale Deal by PMO Can't be Construed as Parallel Negotiations, Centre Tells SC

The government asserted that judicial scrutinies based on illegally obtained State secrets can have serious repercussions on national security.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:May 4, 2019, 2:55 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday told the Supreme Court that monitoring of the Rafale deal by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) could not be construed as parallel negotiations and rejected all demands of criminal investigation into the matter.

The government, by way of two affidavits, asked the court to “junk review petitions right away”, emphasising that review of the fighter jets’ procurement process will “impact national security in the current security environment in the country, and in the neighbouring countries being well known”.

The government also questioned the Supreme Court order of April 10, which had allowed “secret” documents. It asserted that judicial scrutinies based on illegally obtained State secrets can have serious repercussions on national security, financial interests and finally on the “very existence of the Indian State”.

The Centre told the court that India got Rafale jet at a cheaper price and the SC’s judgment of December 2018 where it dismissed pleas challenging procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was right.

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday directed the Centre to file a response by May 4 to the petitions seeking review of last December’s verdict by which the apex court had dismissed the pleas.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi did not allow the plea of the Centre that it be granted four weeks to file its response to the pleas. It asked it to submit the response latest by Saturday.

Former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan have filed a petition seeking review of the December 14, 2018 verdict of the apex court giving clean chit to the Rafale deal. Besides the trio, AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh has also filed a separate review petition in the case.

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