Rafale row: Rahul Gandhi to meet HAL authorities, address Congress workers in Bengaluru on 13 October

Congress president Rahul Gandhi will meet with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) authorities in Bengaluru on Saturday to up pressure on the BJP government over the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal, ANI reported.

The Deccan Chronicle reported that Rahul will also address a party workers’ rally in the city. “It will be a quick visit, he will fly down to Bengaluru, head straight to the HAL employees meeting and then address party workers," KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao said.

The announcement comes after the Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a report from the Centre on the details of the decision-making process involved in finalising the Rafale deal with France. The three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph gave the order without issuing a notice to the Centre, Bar and Bench reported.

Prior to the apex court's statement, the Centre called the PILs filed in the matter 'politically motivated.'

In the PIL, the petitioner, lawyer Vineet Dhanda, had sought a direction to the Centre to reveal details of the agreement and comparative prices agreed upon during the tenures of both the United Progressive Alliance and the incumbent National Democratic Alliance. The bench heard another PIL by lawyer ML Sharma, who had sought to have the hearing adjourned till Wednesday to file additional documents in the case.

In his petition, Sharma alleged discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and sought a stay on it. His petition says that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an "outcome of corruption" and not ratified by Parliament under Article 253 of the Constitution, as per which, Parliament has the power to make any law to implement any inter-government agreement. Sharma, on Wednesday, made submissions on the loss the State exchequer had incurred because of the contract on the fighter aircraft and the higher price paid for each unit. He also made arguments on the history of the deal.

Representing the Centre, Attorney General of India KK Venugopal said the matter cannot be examined judicially as it was "about national security" and urged the Supreme Court to not entertain such petitions. "If a notice is issued, it will go to the prime minister, etc. This is a political petition, not a public interest litigation, and is part of a bitter fight going on between the ruling and Opposition party. Please don't entertain such petitions," the attorney general argued.

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Updated Date: Oct 10, 2018 14:43:06 IST

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