Rafale verdict: Centre seeks 'factual correction' in SC judgment, claims court misinterpreted reference to CAG report

The government clarified in the Supreme Court affidavit that in its report to the CAG, the Centre had only cited the procedure followed in the Rafale deal and had not submitted pricing details of the jets.

FP Staff December 15, 2018 17:07:25 IST
Rafale verdict: Centre seeks 'factual correction' in SC judgment, claims court misinterpreted reference to CAG report

The Centre on Saturday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, seeking a "factual correction" in a paragraph of the court's judgment ruling out the need for an investigation into the Rafale fighter jet deal with France. The paragraph in question refers to the Centre's report submitted to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and its examination by the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

In its affidavit, a copy of which the government served to all petitioners in the Rafale case, the government said the Supreme Court had misinterpreted its earlier affidavit, clarifying in the fresh one that in its report to the CAG, the Centre had only cited the procedure followed in reaching the fighter jet deal and that it had not submitted pricing details of the jets.

The Congress had alleged that no such report had been shared either with the CAG or PAC. In its defence on Saturday, the government said the language used in the earlier affidavit had led the Supreme Court to misinterpret its standing. "That unfortunately, an element of misinterpretation of the statement made in the note/bullet points handed over on behalf of the Union of India in the sealed cover, appears to have crept in," the government said in its affidavit.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had ruled that the details of the Rafale deal — pricing and the decision-making process — were beyond doubt and did not need an investigation. The court said the material placed before it shows that the Centre did not disclose in Parliament the pricing details of the Rafale fighter jet, but had revealed it to the CAG, and that the CAG report was even examined by the PAC of Parliament.

Rafale verdict Centre seeks factual correction in SC judgment claims court misinterpreted reference to CAG report

File image of Supreme Court. PTI

In its 29-page order, the court had said that the pricing details of the fighter aircraft had been shared with the CAG, and the PAC had further examined the CAG's report. "Only a redacted portion of this report was placed before Parliament and is in public domain," the bench had said.

Earlier on Saturday, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge denied that any such report mentioning details of the price of the jets existed, as cited by the Supreme Court in its order ruling out the need for an investigation into the controversial defence deal.

Kharge, who is the chief of the PAC, also refuted the claim that this report was submitted to the House panel. The Congress leader said he had not seen any such CAG report, calling the court's observation "strange" and "untrue".

"When the CAG does not have the report, how will it come before the PAC? Who gave the report, where is the report? Where did the report come from?" he said, alleging that "this is far from the truth".

Kharge accused the government of lying to the Supreme Court saying that the CAG report was presented in the House and to the PAC, and that the PAC had examined it. "The government said in the Supreme Court that the report is in public domain. Where is it? Have you seen it?" Kharge asked.

"The material placed before us shows that the government has not disclosed pricing details, other than the basic price of the aircraft, even to Parliament, on the ground that sensitivity of pricing details could affect national security, apart from breaching the agreement between the two countries," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph said.

With inputs from agencies

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