New Delhi, December 14: Hours after the Supreme Court denied ordering an inquiry into the Rafale fighter jets deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he disagrees with the "basic foundation" of the apex court's judgement. Gandhi claimed that the government's argument before the bench, on whose basis the petitions seeking probe were discarded, is flawed.
While pronouncing the verdict in Rafale case today, the bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi referred to the Centre's claim that a report prepared by the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) on pricing of the fighter jets have already "been tabled" before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament.
Suggesting that the government has attempted to mislead the court, Gandhi said no such CAG report was presented before the PAC. "I have (Mallikarjun) Kharge ji besides me. He is the head of the PAC, but has never seen such a CAG report presented to him," Gandhi said.
Kharge told the reporters that the government has "lied" before the judiciary, and has "never presented" before the PAC the CAG report on Rafale deal.
R Gandhi: Govt will have to explain to us where is the CAG report. Show it to PAC chairman Kharge ji. Maybe a different PAC is running parallelly, maybe in a different Parliament, maybe in Parliament of France. It's possible Modi ji has constituted his own PAC in PMO. #RafaleDeal pic.twitter.com/iU2A3SgUEw
— ANI (@ANI) December 14, 2018
Activist Yogendra Yadav, whose Swaraj Abhiyan associate and veteran lawyer Prashant Bhushan was one of the petitioners in the case, presented a point-by-point rebuttal expressing his doubt over the SC verdict on Rafale.
Here's what Yadav tweeted:
SC judgement on Rafale based on factual blunders:
* That there is CAG report on Rafale
* That it was sent to PAC
* That PAC shared it with parliament
* That this report is public
Why did the Govt mislead the Supreme Court? Isn't that a contempt of court? pic.twitter.com/k5TnG4362X
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) December 14, 2018
According to The Hindu Business Line, CAG report on Rafale deal is in the final process and is likely to be tabled before the Parliament before the Winter Session ends.
Rahul Gandhi, while addressing the press, said the Opposition's basic demand -- to know why the Centre preferred to procure Rafale jets at Rs 1,600 crore, instead of Rs 536 crore as finalised under the UPA regime -- hasn't been addressed yet.
"We also want to know why Anil Ambani's company was given the Rs 30,000 crore offset contract instead of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited," he said.
"Despite HAL having land, reputation and experience, I want to know why the contract was awarded to Anil Ambani," the Congress chief questioned.
Gandhi alleged that Defence Minister was aloof of the procurement process, and was unaware of the details of the deal inked between PM Modi and the French arms manufacturer Dassault Aviation in 2015.
Rubbishing "secrecy" clause cited by the government to deny revealing the aircraft prices in public, Gandhi claimed that the French president told Indian leaders off record that there is no such pact in place with India.
Gandhi also took a swipe at Modi asking why the Prime Minister is afraid of facing the media. "Will he ever come before you (reporters) and answer your questions," he asked.