Modi Govt Questions Supreme Court Order on Rafale Corruption Case

Nirmala Sitharaman taking charge as the Union Minister for Defence, in New Delhi on September 07, 2017. Photo (file) courtesy: PIB
Nirmala Sitharaman taking charge as the Union Minister for Defence, in New Delhi on September 07, 2017. Photo (file) courtesy: PIB

While the Supreme Court of India has decided to reopen the Rafale corruption case in which PM Modi may face prosecution, the Modi government is still questioning the court order baselessly.

By Rakesh Raman

As the Supreme Court of India passed an order Wednesday (10 April 2019) to hear the review petitions in the Rafale corruption case, the government has given its clarification about the order.

In an official communique issued Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, stated that in their review petitions, the petitioners have relied upon the documents, some of which could not have been placed in public domain.

The Central Government had raised objections that while considering review petitions, the said documents may not be considered as they are classified.

However, the judges have unanimously dismissed the government’s objections and decided to reopen the case for which the court will fix the date for hearing the petitions.

[ Modi Govt Blamed for Misleading Supreme Court. Rafale Corruption Case Reopened ]

The Indian government has been trying to hide the truth in the controversial Rafale deal in which PM Narendra Modi is a prime accused.

In order to scuttle the case, the Modi government is now questioning the Supreme Court’s order, saying that the court through its order dated 14 December 2018 had dismissed the writ petitions.

The Defence Ministry reiterated in its Wednesday statement that the petitioners are using documents with the intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to national security and defence.

The statement adds that the documents presented by the petitioners are failing to bring out how the issues were addressed and resolved and necessary approvals of the competent authorities taken. According to the statement, these are selective and incomplete presentation of the facts and records by the petitioners.

[ Attorney General Misled the Court to Save Modi in Rafale Case ]

In March, India’s Attorney General (AG) K. K. Venugopal had told the Supreme Court that the documents related to the Rafale fighter jet deal have been stolen from the Defence Ministry. But he changed his statement just a couple of days later.

Venugopal stated that when he said documents are stolen, he meant the documents were photocopied to use in the petition. In fact, Venugopal was trying to distort the truth when the Defence Ministry did not support his claim in the court that the Rafale documents were stolen.

Earlier, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S. K. Kaul, and K. M. Joseph had decreed that the review petitions filed by former Indian ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie along with lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan will be heard in the open court.

Along with the review petitions, the Court will also hear the correction petition filed by the Central Government, and also the petition filed for initiating perjury proceedings against officials who allegedly misled the Court by submitting false information in the notes submitted to the Court.

Meanwhile, Congress party alleges that since it is a case of Section 13(1)(d) in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, an FIR must be registered against Modi.

Moreover, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to file a complaint against PM Modi in the newly constituted Lokpal. An AAP leader Gopal Rai said recently that his party will file Rafale and Sahara-Birla corruption complaints against Modi with Lokpal.

With an embezzlement of Rs. 30,000 crore (~ US$ 4 billion), the Rafale scam is stated to be the biggest government-led fraud in the world.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications on different subjects.

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Rakesh Raman