Rafale: Mismatch between Supreme Court judgment and Centre’s submissions on CAG report not substantial error

Rafale: Mismatch between Supreme Court judgment and Centre’s submissions on CAG report not substantial error

Shruti Mahajan

The Central government has rejected all allegations made against it in the perjury application filed by the review petitioners in the Rafale case.

The Centre has denied charges that there is any suppression of information or presentation of untrue information. It has submitted that the petitioners are seeking to re-open the whole matter by placing reliance on incomplete file notings and media reports.

“Media reports cannot form the basis for seeking initiation of ‘perjury proceedings’ since it is well settled that Courts do not take decisions on the basis of media reports.”

The Centre’s reply also states that the mismatch between certain paragraphs (Para 25) of the judgment and the submissions of the Centre (given in sealed cover) in relation to CAG report, was sought to be corrected by filing an application the very next day (15.12.2018). The same is under still consideration before the Supreme Court, the Centre has pointed out.

The Rafale Judgment was delivered on  December 14, 2018. The very next day the Central Government filed an Application for Correction.

December 15, 2018 –  Rafale: SC misinterpreted present for past tense, Centre seeks correction in Para 25 [Read Application]

The words “The report of the CAG is examined by the PAC. Only a redacted version of the report is placed before the Parliament and in public domain” may be substituted in place…

December 14, 2018 – Supreme Court dismisses petitions calling for probe into Rafale Deal

The mismatch, however, is neither a substantial error nor does it affect the main judgment, according to the Central Government.

“In any case the mismatch does not in any manner either directly or indirectly affect the main judgment and it is not a substantial error as contended since the fact of the matter is that there is no fault found either in the decision making processor in the matter of pricing as concluded by the CAG in its report submitted subsequent to the judgment.”

The Central Government affidavit says, the case of the petitioners is based on some secret documents published in the media from files of the Ministry of Defence which were internal deliberations at an intermediate level but not a reflection of the final decision taken by the appropriate authority after considering all the facts on record.

On the issue of pricing of the Rafale jets, the Centre submits that it was not required to share the note on pricing with the applicants on account of it being classified. The Centre has thus denied any “untruth or suppression” in the notes regarding the decision making process and the offsets, the affidavit says.

On Anil Ambani owned Reliance Defence (Now Called Reliance Naval & Engineering) and Attack on UPA Government

The JV between Reliance Defence (Now Called Reliance Naval & Engineering) came into being in February 2017. This is a purely commercial arrangement between two private companies. The affidavit attacks the previous UPA Government by claiming that “in February 2012 media reports suggest that there was a JV between Reliance Industries (Mukesh Ambani owned) and Dassault Aviation within 2 weeks of procurement of 126 aircraft by the previous Government”.

The affidavit further claims that the Central Government has no role in the selection of the Offset Partner. As per the affidavit, Vendor offset obligations are to commence from the fourth year i.e. October 2019 onwards. The Vendors submit a formal proposal in the prescribed manner for offset discharge. There is no violation of the provisions of DPP in this regard and petitions are trying to create unnecessary controversy.

Role of PMO

The Centre has also reiterated its position on parallel negotiations stating that the monitoring of the progress of the Rafale deal by the Prime Minister’s Office cannot be construed as interference or parallel negotiations.

The Supreme Court will hear the matter on Friday, May 10.

Earlier today, the review petitioners filed a rejoinder affidavit claiming that the December 2018 judgment has been obtained through multiple falsehoods and suppression of material and relevant information.

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