Rafale review: Petitioners claim Government played fraud in SC

Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha (File Photo/IANS)

New Delhi: Three petitioners, former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, on Thursday claimed in the Supreme Court that the Centre played fraud upon the court to obtain favourable order in the Rafale fighter jet case.

The petitioners filed a rejoinder stating the December 14, 2018 verdict should be subjected to a review as it was based on “multiple falsehoods and suppression of material and relevant information”.

“It is clear the government misled the court on various counts in the notes that were submitted in a sealed cover. The government has also suppressed material and relevant information from the court and obtained the impugned judgement on the basis of fraud played upon the court by the government,” said the rejoinder said.

The top court had dismissed the plea filed by Sinha, Shourie and Bhushan, who sought investigation into alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal.

The petitioners said since the government was suppressing information, they have sought production of relevant and material documents before the court.

The rejoinder is in response to the Centre’s affidavit, filed last week, stating the previous apex court verdict had no apparent error, which could possibly warrant a review.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is scheduled to hear the matter on May 10.

The Centre said the petitioners, in the garb of seeking a review based on media reports and incomplete internal file notings, cannot seek to re-open the whole matter.

The petitioners have said they brought on record material that indicated the deal “suffered from various problems”.

The rejoinder pointed at three contentions of the Centre which are “untenable”: (i) the matter pertains to national security therefore scope of judicial review is constrained (ii) because the petitioners cannot ask for a “roving and fishing inquiry” on the basis of subsequent media reports and (iii) because the C&AG has given its final report after considering all records and did not find any wrongdoing.

“Even now the government is not disclosing that contrary to what was submitted in the sealed covers, the Cabinet Committee on Security met once again in the month of September 2016 to inter alia drop standard clauses which are meant to ensure probity, transparency and check corruption,” the rejoinder said.

The petitioner said they made a prayer for direction to the CBI to take action on their complaint on October 4 , 2018.

Regarding the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) report in Rafale deal, the petitioners said it was silent on key aspects. “It is silent on the dropping of standard clauses meant to ensure probity and transparency in every procurement,” said the affidavit.

Published on: May 9, 2019 at 23:07 IST

IANS

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