The Modi government on Saturday filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court (SC) asserting that the 2018 SC judgement that upheld the Rafale deal and asserted that there was no corruption or impropriety in the deal whatsoever. It also slammed the media for quoting documents selectively in the Rafale deal to insinuate the PMO interfered in the negotiations.
In the affidavit, the Centre said, Monitoring of progress of the Rafale deal by the PMO cannot be construed as interference or parallel negotiations.
The affidavit added that the then Defence Minister had recorded on the file: it appears that PMO and French President’s office are monitoring the progress of the issues which was an outcome of the summit meeting.
The Affidavit reportedly says, “the Dec 14, 2018 judgement upholding 36 Rafale jets’ deal was correct and unsubstantiated media reports and/or part internal file notings deliberately projected in a selective manner cannot form the basis for review”.
In 2018, the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to the Rafale deal and found no impropriety in the deal whatsoever. Review petitions were filed by “activists” demanding that the judgement by the Court be reviewed on the basis of a story that appeared in The Hindu, written by N Ram. N Ram has been actively trying to discredit the Rafale deal and has indulged in blatant lies in the process.
First, N Ram wrote a shoddy article in The Hindu about the Rafale deal which the Congress has been trying and failing, to discredit. In this article, he had shamelessly taken the work of a defence journalist called Manu Pubby and not only passed it off as his own but also presented a skewed version of his reportage.
The documents put forth by N Ram, on the basis of which the review petitions were filed were indeed distorted. N Ram and The Hindu had cropped portions of the documents where then defence minister, late Manohar Parrikar had made his notings.
In Manohar Parrikar’s noting, which was cropped out by The Hindu to peddle its agenda, Parrikar asked the Defense Secretary to take up the matter with the Pr. Secretary to Prime Minister and resolve the matter. He also calls it an ‘overreaction’ by the Deputy Secretary (Air-II). He states, “It appears that PMO and French President’s office are monitoring the progress of the issue which was an outcome of the summit meeting. Para 5 appears to be an over reaction. Def Sec may resolve issue/matter in consultation with Pr. Sec to P.M.”
The full story of The Hindu and N Ram cropping documents and lying shamelessly about the Rafale deal can be read here.
In fact, Air Marshal SBP Sinha, who had headed the Indian Negotiation Team (INT) for the Rafale deal had expressed his surprise over The Hindu’s story on Rafale and termed it as an effort to malign this procurement by concealing facts.
Earlier this month, a Supreme Court bench dismissed objections raised by the Centre regarding pleas asking for a review of the decision on the Rafale deal. The court had dismissed the Centre’s preliminary objections seeking review of earlier judgment giving a clean chit to the Union government in the Rafale deal. The affidavit filed by the Modi government today is in response to this case.