#RafaleDeal: SC asks Modi government to submit details in 10-days
After months of controversy, it seems that there might be some clarity on the details of the Rafale deal at long last. The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, asked the government to submit details of the controversial deal, including pricing, cost of jets, and steps taken to seal the deal, in a sealed cover in 10 days' time. Here's what we know.
CJI Gogoi directs the government to submit deal details
"We would like the details of pricing and cost to be submitted to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover. This may be submitted in the next 10 days," a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi told the government on Wednesday.
The direction came while the SC was hearing some petitions
The Supreme Court's direction came while it was hearing petitions filed by Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie. The court also clarified that "details that may be considered strategic" could be excluded from the submission, but that all other details had to be made public. The deal was announced in 2015 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's talks with then French President Francois Hollande.
The SC had sought details a couple of weeks earlier
A couple of weeks earlier, the SC had asked the government for the deal details, but had not issued any notification. The apex court's statement had come during the hearing of a PIL filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda, which sought comparative prices of the deal during the UPA and the NDA government, and information on the (controversial) contract given to Reliance Defence by Dassault.
Recently, political sparring over the deal escalated
While the deal has long been politicized, political sparring over the deal spiked sharply after former French President Francois Hollande said that the Indian government had "given" Ambani-owned Reliance Defence as an offset partner, and had left the French government with no choice over the selection of offset partners. Hollande's comments strengthened the Opposition's claims that Ambani had been unduly favored by the government.