Supreme Court agreed to hear plea on Rafale deal next week

NEW DELHI: A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the plea of advocate M L Sharma and agreed to hear next week seeking a stay on the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France.

The controversial purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft was deal signed between India and France in 2015. Advocate M L Sharma listed in his plea urgent hearing. In his PIL, Sharma had alleged discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and sought a stay on it.

Sharma has claimed in his plea that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an “outcome of corruption” and not ratified by Parliament under Article 253 (Parliament has power to make any law for implementing any inter-government agreement) of the Constitution.

The Congress had earlier said the deal signed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government smacked of corruption and crony capitalism. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had said the price negotiated by the NDA government for 36 Rafales that were to be purchased under a government to government deal in a fly away condition were higher than prices negotiated by the previous  United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

In January this year, a plea was filed in the apex court seeking an independent probe into the Centre’s decision to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

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