(This News Article Is Originally Posted on Times Now News by Harish V Nair)
Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma who was the original PIL petitioner who sought an independent investigation into the 2015 Rafale deal which was dismissed in December 2018 and review also rejected in November 2019 has once again moved the SC seeking an independent investigation after new revelations by a French media portal reported that the aircraft manufacturers, Dassault Aviation, had paid 1 million euro to a controversial Indian middleman.
The PIL has made Prime Minister Narendra Modi Respondent No. 1. Union of India and CBI are respondents No.2 and 3. The PIL entirely based on new revelations by the French portal urges the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the news report.
Dassault Aviation has already denied the allegations and said there was no corruption or irregularities in the deal.
The Supreme Court had on December 14, 2018, dismissed a batch of PILs filed by ML Sharma, Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie, Yashwant Singh and Vineet Dhanda that sought an independent probe into the 2015 Rafale deal finding no irregularities in matters of decision-making, pricing procurement and selection of offset partners.
The court had noted that the perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a fishing and roving enquiry in matters of defence procurement where the scope of judicial review is also limited.
Dismissing the petitions, a bench headed by then Chief Justice said the country cannot afford to be lacking in any manner so far as defence is concerned.
The court had also said “Our country cannot afford to be unprepared/under-prepared in a situation where our adversaries are stated to have acquired not only 4th generation but even 5th generation aircraft, of which, we have none. It will not be correct for the court to sit as an appellate authority to scrutinize each aspect of the process of acquisition.”
The court had almost a year later in November 2019 also dismissed review petitions against the dismissal of the original PILs seeking an independent investigation into the deal.