Rafale deal: SC asks government to file details about aircraft pricing in a sealed cover, says CBI probe “can wait”

Supporters and members of the Congress party take part in a protest featuring an image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a Rafale fighter jet in New Delhi on October 26, 2018.

NEW DELHI–The Supreme Court on Wednesday morning asked the government to submit in a sealed cover the details about pricing and advantages of inducting the Rafale aircraft in the Indian Air Force within ten days, Live Law reported.

As per this report, an apex court bench led by the Chief Justice of Indian Ranjan Gogoi said that it “would like to be apprised to the details with regard to pricing/cost, advantages thereof, if any, which will be submitted in a sealed cover”. This direction came while the court was hearing a petition filed by former BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist Advocate Prashant Bhushan who have demanded that the court order the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR and probe the Rafale deal.

Previously, the court had sought details in a sealed cover about the manner in which Rafale was chosen as the aircraft to be bought at the official level. Today, the court asked the government to share these details with the petitioners.

Notably, as per this Bar and Bench report, the Attorney General objected to the SC’s direction about the disclosure of pricing details pertaining to the purchase of Rafale aircraft arguing that they are covered under the Official Secrets Act. The court asked him to file these objections in a written affidavit so that it could “consider the same.”

Advocate Bhushan reiterated the demand that the CBI investigate the case but the court said in response, “That can wait” before all the details are considered by the court. The next hearing in the case is on November 10.