Why Congress Thinks Supreme Court's Verdict on Rafale Deal is a Validation of Party Stand
Mallikarjun Kharge said the party’s demand for a JPC probe still stands as the main contentious issue was pricing, which SC said it did not want to comment on as it is not in its jurisdiction
File photo of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi protesting against the Rafale deal.
New Delhi: The Congress and its chief Rahul Gandhi on Friday came under a fierce attack from the ruling BJP after the Supreme Court’s clean chit on the Rafale deal, but the grand old party brushed off all criticism and said it was not a setback.
Gandhi, who has been alleging corruption in the purchase of the 36 fighter jets from France’s Dassault Aviation, was asked to apologise by the BJP for levelling “false allegations for political gain,” but the Congress instead said that the verdict was in fact a validation of the party stand.
The party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, said the Congress had stated earlier that the Rafale issue cannot be decided by the Supreme Court, and the alleged corruption in the defence contract can only be brought out by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) after examining the files and notings in the contract.
"The verdict of the Supreme Court is a validation of what the Congress party stated months ago that the Supreme Court is not the forum to decide such sensitive defence contracts," he told reporters.
The Congress leader also alleged that the government gave a "one-sided half-baked information to the Supreme Court which has not been scrutinised by anyone".
Senior party leader and opposition leader in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said the party’s demand for a JPC probe still stands as the main contentious issue was pricing, which SC said it did not want to comment on as it is not in its jurisdiction. “Home Minister is speaking on an incomplete judgement given on a PIL,” he stated.
Rajnath Singh has said Rahul Gandhi should apologise in Parliament for misleading the country on the Rafale jet deal issue for “political gains". He said Gandhi's political campaign had maligned the country's image internationally.
Singh said the Congress itself was facing grave allegations of graft and their ministers have been sent to jail over corruption charges. "They know that they have drowned, so they want to take us along (Woh chahate hain ke hum toh dube hain sanam, tumhe bhi le doobenge)," the home minister said.
BJP chief Amit Shah said the verdict was a slap on Gandhi’s politics of lies and asked him to apologise to the country and its soldiers for putting national security at risk.
Opposition parties, primarily the Congress, have been attacking the Modi government over the deal, alleging that it was struck at a much higher price and benefited Anil Ambani firm Reliance Defence at the cost of the government-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
But the apex court on Friday said there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the multi-billion dollar Rafale deal and found no evidence of commercial favouritism. It also rejected the demand of a probe into the pricing.
Congress leader Anand Sharma, however, said the SC order was “contradictory” and there is no reason for the BJP and the government to celebrate as the top court has not gone into all details.
"The SC said that it is not proper for us to go into details. The cost was inflated and the tech was not transferred to India. The court did not look into these aspects,” he said, adding that the party will insist on a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into Rafale deal.
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