Rafale deal: Supreme Court moved over ‘false’ government submissions

Source: The Hindu

prashant bhushanPlea seeks to prosecute Central officers

The Supreme Court’s verdict and Comptroller Auditor General of India (CAG)’s report on the Rafale deal notwithstanding, Prashant Bhushan, eminent lawyer and activist, has moved the SC seeking prosecution of Central government functionaries — responsible for submitting false information to the apex court — under forgery charges.

Apart from Mr. Bhushan, former Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha are petitioners in the fresh applications filed before the SC on Friday. Earlier, the three public figures had filed a review petition against the SC’s verdict on Rafale in January.

“We have pleaded the Supreme Court to find out the government officer who had furnished false information, and he or she should be prosecuted under forgery charges,” said Mr. Bhushan addressing a press conference here.

Not Anil, but Mukesh

“The Centre has misled the Supreme Court by furnishing incorrect information. The information provided in sealed cover has been found to be untrue. It stated the government was in negotiation with Anil Ambani in 2012, but actually talks were held with the other Ambani – Mukesh Ambani. Anil Ambani had nothing to do with the negotiations in 2012,” he said.

“The government had said price negotiation was done by a price negotiating team. The recent expose, however, revealed that the Prime Minister’s Office and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were involved in the negotiation. It was also furnished that the government was able to secure the best price for the fighter jets. What emerges now is that the assertion was baseless,” said Mr. Bhushan

IAF weakened

“The deal was not a mere case of corruption. The decision has broken the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The IAF had sought seven to eight squadrons consisting of 126 fighter planes. The government, however, brought it down to 36. It was meant to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani. The government has tinkered with national security,” alleged the lawyer-activist.

Stating that the set of information was full of discrepancies, the activist said, “The sovereign guarantee and bank guarantee clauses have been taken out. The escrow account has been done away with. Moreover, the integrity clause has been waived. All this information has been suppressed.”

Experts view ignored

“The opinion of three domain experts was not taken into account. They had said the benchmark price of the Rafale fighter planes cannot be arbitrarily hiked from Euro 5 bn to Euro 8 bn, which is a 60% increase. The government has bypassed the tender route. The tender was issued for 126 planes, but not for 36 Rafale jets,” he alleged.

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