The top court added that it doesn’t find any material to show its commercial favouritism.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the petition seeking a court-monitored Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the purchase of 36 French-made Rafale fighter jets by the government for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
“We are satisfied that there is no occasion to doubt the process. A country can’t afford to be under-prepared,” top court said.
The top court added that it doesn’t find any material to show its commercial favouritism. The court said that nobody questioned procurement of Rafale jets when the deal was finalised in September 2016.
“We can’t sit in judgment over the purchase of 36 aircraft against 126 fighter jets. It is not correct for the court to sit as appellate authority in the aircraft purchase,” the court said.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, “There is no reason for interference in the choice of offset partner and perception of individuals can’t be the basis for roving inquiry in such a sensitive issue of defence procurement.”
“We can’t compel the government to purchase 126 aircrafts and it’s not proper for the court to examine each aspect of this case. It’s not a job of the court to compare pricing details,” added Gogoi.
Supreme Court also observed that there is a necessity for fighter aircraft and the country cannot remain without jets. Court also gave a clean chit to Modi government on the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
The court had reserved its verdict after a hearing on November 14, indicating it would not go into the contentious issue of pricing in the deal.
The petitions challenging the deal were filed by activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh and advocates ML Sharma and Vineet Dhanda earlier this year.