New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday gave the Narendra Modi government a clean chit in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and dismissed all the petitions seeking a direction to the CBI to register an FIR for alleged irregularities in the deal.
Anil D Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Group, welcomed the judgement and said in a statement, “I welcome the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court today summarily dismissing all PILs filed on the Rafale contracts, and conclusively establishing the complete falsity of the wild, baseless and politically motivated allegations levelled against Reliance Group and me personally. We remain committed to India’s national security and to making our humble contribution towards the Make in India and Skill India policies of the Government in the critical area of defence including our offset partnership agreement with our valued partner, Dassault Aviation of France.”
Here’s the list of events in chronological order:
Dec 30, 2002: Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP) adopted to streamline procurement procedures.
Aug 28, 2007: Ministry of Defence issues Request for Proposal for procurement of 126 MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) fighters.
Sep 4, 2008: Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance group incorporates Reliance Aerospace Technologies Ltd (RATL).
May 2011: Air Force shortlists Rafale and Eurofighter jets.
Jan 30, 2012: Dassault Aviation’s Rafale aircraft comes up with the lowest bid.
Mar 13, 2014: Work Share agreement signed between HAL and Dassault Aviation under which they were responsible for 70 per cent and 30 per cent of the work, respectively, for 108 aircraft.
Aug 8: Then defence minister Arun Jaitley tells Parliament that 18 direct ‘fly-away’ aircraft expected to be delivered in 3-4 years from signing of the contract. Remaining 108 aircraft to be delivered in the next seven years.
Apr 8, 2015: The then foreign secretary says detailed discussions underway between Dassault, MoD and HAL.
Apr 10: New deal for acquisition of 36 direct ‘fly-away’ aircraft from France announced.
Jan 26, 2016: India and France sign MoU for 36 Rafale aircraft.
Sep 23: Inter-governmental agreement signed.
Nov 18: Government states in Parliament that the cost of each Rafale aircraft to be approximately Rs 670 crore and that all aircraft will be delivered by April 2022.
Dec 31: Dassault Aviation’s Annual Report reveals the actual price paid for the 36 aircrafts at about Rs 60,000 crore, more than double the government’s stated price in Parliament.
Mar 13, 2018: PIL in SC seeks independent probe into Centre’s decision to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and disclosure of the cost involved in the deal before Parliament.
Sep 5: SC agrees to hear PIL seeking stay on Rafale fighter jet deal.
Sep 18: SC adjourns hearing on PIL seeking stay on Rafale fighter jet deal to October 10.
Oct 8: SC agrees to hear on October 10 fresh PIL seeking direction to Centre to file in “sealed cover” the details of the agreement for buying 36 Rafale fighter Jets.
Oct 10: SC asks Centre to provide details of decision making process in the Rafale fighter jet deal in a sealed cover.
Oct 24: Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan moves SC, seeking registration of FIR into Rafale fighter jet deal.
Oct 31: SC asks Centre to place before it in a sealed cover within 10 days the pricing details of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
Nov 12: Centre places price details of 36 Rafale fighter jets in a sealed cover before SC. It also gives details of steps that led to finalisation of the Rafale deal.
Nov 14: SC reserves order on pleas seeking court-monitored probe in Rafale deal.
Dec 14 (today) : SC says there is no occasion to doubt the decision-making process of the Modi government and dismisses all the petitions seeking direction to the CBI to register an FIR for alleged irregularities in the jet deal.
(With inputs from PTI)