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Bunch of petitions, including those filed by former BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie have been filed in SC challenging the Rafale Deal.

The Supreme Court, on Wednesday (October 31), directed the Centre to share more details with it with regard to the controversial Indo-France Rafale Jet deal.

The extant order is in addition to its earlier directive to the Centre to share details of the decision-making process that led to the award of the Rafale deal to Dassault Aviation, which has Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as its offset partner for the deal. The Centre had, last week, filed the papers concerning the decision-making process with the Supreme Court’s registry in a sealed cover.

On Wednesday, as the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi began its proceedings in the two PILs filed over the Rafale Deal controversy – by petitioners ML Sharma, who has named Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the respondent in the case, and Vineet Dhanda – it noted that since the last date of hearing in the matter, two more litigations on the subject had been received by the court – one by former BJP leaders Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and advocate Prashant Bhushan and the other by Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh.

The bench, also comprising Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph, also noted that the PILs before the court do not raise questions on suitability of the equipment or its utility but question the bona fide of the decision-making process and the price of purchase of the Rafale aircraft that was agreed to by the Indian government.

The Chief Justice noted that though, at the moment, the court doesn’t find it appropriate to record any finding in the case, it is “of the view that the core information in the confidential report and further details should legitimately come into the public domain.”

The bench also said that the details of “pricing of the aircraft, particularly its advantages” should be shared with the court. So far, the court had not sought this detail from the Centre.

The Chief Justice then said that “necessary details in the case must be shared and handed over to the parties before this court”.

With regard to another prayer raised in the petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan – one demanding a CBI enquiry in the Rafale deal – the bench did not make any recording.

The bench will resume hearing in the petitions on November 14.

— India Legal Bureau

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