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Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Petition Against Rafale Deal Next Week

The opposition has been targeting over the Rafale deal with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi leading the attack.

Updated:September 5, 2018, 12:57 PM IST
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear next week a PIL seeking stay on the Rafale fighter jet deal between India with France.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submissions of advocate M L Sharma that his plea be listed for urgent hearing. In his PIL, Sharma alleged discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and sought stay on it.

The opposition has been targeting over the Rafale deal with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi leading the attack. Rahul has been attacking the BJP government for allegedly inking the deal at a much higher price than the one the previous UPA regime had negotiated to benefit "one businessman".

In an interaction with the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (UK) at the London School of Economics last month, Rahul spoke of alleged corruption in the Rafale deal, accusing the PM of favouring a businessman who had no experience in manufacturing aircraft.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had recently said that Parliament, and not court, was the right forum to take up the Rafale fighter jet deal in which his party has alleged a major "scam".

Addressing a press conference here, the former Union home minister said the Rafale deal should not be compared with the Bofors case as there was no corruption in the purchase of Bofors guns from Sweden in 1980s.

He said if the government did not want to debate the issue in Parliament, the other option was to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) - a demand made by the Congress - and discuss the deal there. The JPC represents Parliament. It is miniature Parliament, he said.

The Congress leader also asked how could the government term the acquisition of 36 Rafale jets an "emergency" purchase when the first of the fighter planes was meant to arrive four years after the deal.

"Not one aircraft has arrived in India since its announcement in 2015. The first aircraft is expected to arrive in September 2019 and remaining in 2022. Now where is the question of emergency purchasing when the first aircraft comes after four years and the remaining after seven years?" he questioned.

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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