Rafale: Centre says mismatch between CAG report and SC not a big error

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New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday filed another affidavit in the Supreme Court in the Rafale deal against the perjury plea of the petitioners seeking a review, claiming the mismatch between a certain portion of the judgement pronounced on December 14, 2018, about its submissions on the CAG report, is not a major error and that it does not affect the judgement.

The Centre said the petitioners filed an application of perjury in an attempt to get the case reopened by implying that the court’s order pronounced on December 14, 2018, was based on false statements made by the government before the court.

On May 4, the government had filed another affidavit in the top court seeking to dismiss the application for a review of the deal, informing the court that monitoring of progress by the Prime Minister’s Office of a government-to-government process “cannot be construed as interference or parallel negotiations.”

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is slated to hear the Rafale review petition on Friday. The hearing will focus on the review of its December 14 verdict along with applications seeking perjury action against unknown officials and production of certain documents before the court.

The government said the mismatch between certain paragraphs (Para 25) of the judgement and the submissions of the Centre (given in a sealed cover) in relation to CAG report was sought to be corrected by filing an application the very next day, December 15, 2018.

“In any case, the mismatch does not in any manner, either directly or indirectly, affect the main judgement and it is not a substantial error as contended since the fact is that there is no fault found in the decision-making processor on pricing as concluded by the CAG in its report submitted subsequent to the judgment,” said the Centre’s affidavit.

The Centre’s response is on the application filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan. It stated that allegations of making false statements and suppressing facts from the court were baseless and completely false.

Terming the perjury plea as completely misconceived, the Centre pointed out that action against unknown public servants for allegedly misleading the court during the hearing was not correct, and that some “incomplete internal file notings” cannot be treated as a base for such proceedings.

The government said its submissions before the court were based on official records. “The contention that the officials have made false statements while submitting information on ‘decision making process’, ‘offsets’ and ‘pricing’ pursuant to orders passed by this court is completely false, baseless and an attempt to intimidate government servants from performing their duty,” said the affidavit.

The affidavit also mentioned that Rafale was not a case in isolation and that sovereign guarantee was also done away with previously in defence agreements with Russia and the US.

The Centre said the ‘letter of comfort’ was issued by the French government. The affidavit also mentioned that Rajeev Verma, Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Air) who had expressed dissent did not proceed on leave, instead he had signed the note for Cabinet Committee on Security, and then proceeded on training abroad.

 Published on: May 9, 2019 at 22:22 IST


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