The government has told Delhi High Court that it cannot share any information with a private party on the Rs 19,000 crore French submarine Scorpene deal in which kickbacks were allegedly paid to several middlemen.
The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath by Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who said once the court was seized with the issue, the petitioner’s role was over.
He said the government has also filed a status report on the petition filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) seeking a CBI probe into the purchase of Scorpene submarines for the Indian Navy in 2005 from French company Thales.
The Scorpene deal scam was a bribery scandal in which Rs 500 crore was alleged to have been paid to influence decision makers.
The counsel for CBI also stated that the report was received from the investigating agencies of United Kingdom, Canada and Switzerland with the condition that the information supplied by them should not be shared with private parties.
The government’s submission came in the backdrop of advocate Prashant Bhushan’s request to direct the authorities concerned to provide CPIL a copy of the report after deleting the portions which deal with the communication from Interpol.
Considering the submissions made by the agency and the government, the bench said, “The report is before us and we will look into it…”. It said it would consider the matter further on November 24.
The plea by the NGO, filed in 2006, has alleged inaction on the part of the CBI in investigating allegations regarding the deal.
The NGO in its plea had said that the copy of the CBI’s preliminary enquiry report has not been provided to it on the ground that it contains sensitive information.
The report was filed before the court in a sealed cover by the CBI which had given a clean chit to the deal.
The petitioner has alleged that though the government had prior information about the “shady deal and involvement of middlemen as pointed out by the CVC and the Ministry of Defence, the contract was finalised for obvious reasons”.