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The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on several pleas asking for a court monitored probe into the deal with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets after a hearing that stretched for hours ..

The hearing that began shortly after 10.30 in the morning stretched well into  late afternoon during which senior officials of the Indian Air Force were also summoned as witnesses.

On Monday, the government had submitted details of how it decided to buy 36 fighter jets from French defence manufacturer Dassault at Rs. 59,000 crore, to the top court and petitioners who have asked for an investigation into the deal.The pricing details, which the centre said were classified, were also submitted in a sealed cover to the court.

During today’s hearing, the government rhough its top law officer Attorney General KK Venugopal even questioned the court’s competence to judicially review the aircraft deal deal and said it was for experts tgo deal with it. masked the centre’s top law officer while the Supreme Court heard a bunch of petitions demanding a probe into the fighter jet deal with France, and added that the “matter is for experts to decide on, not the court”.After the bench asked for assistance, senior IAF officials were brought in to answer questions. They told the court that Sukhoi 30s were the latest to be inducted which is a third generation aircraft and added that they do not have fourth or fifth generation aircraft in its fleet.The top court asked if there has been no induction of aircraft since 1985, the officers said “no” At that point, the AG told the court that if “rafale had been during the Kargil war, we could have avoided huge casualties as the fighter jet is capable of hitting targets from 60 km.

After hearing THE officers, the Chief Justice allowed them to leave saying, “it is a different war game here in the court. You can go back to your war rooms.”

–India Legal Bureau

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