Raise doubts on Rafale deal in SC: Akhilesh Yadav

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Lucknow. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said Saturday that any “doubts” over the Rafale aircraft deal should be raised in that court, a stance contrary to the Congress demand for a JPC probe of the defence agreement.

The remark comes a day after the Supreme Court dismissed the pleas challenging the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighters from France. The court said there was no reason to “really doubt the decision-making process” warranting setting aside of the contract.

But the Congress has insisted that the apex court did not go into the pricing and technical aspects of the aircraft and only a joint parliamentary committee can probe whether there was any irregularity in the deal.

“The decision on Rafale deal has been given by the Supreme Court. Doubts, if any, should be taken up in the Supreme Court as it is supreme in the eyes of people,” Yadav told reporters in Lucknow. The Samajwadi Party had previously demanded a JPC probe of the deal.

Asked about the change in the party’s stance, Akhilesh Yadav said, “We had made the demand when the matter was not raised in the apex court.

“During a party programme in New Delhi, a journalist had asked me about it and I had said JPC should be set up as there can be many things in it. But now the verdict has come and the Supreme Court has deliberated on all angles,” the Samajwadi Party president said.

“I believe that if anyone has to say anything on it even in future it should be in the Supreme Court,” he added.

The Supreme Court Friday rejected the pleas seeking lodging of an FIR and a court-monitored probe alleging irregularities in the Rs 58,000-crore government-to-government agreement for 36 Rafale fighter jets.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dealt with “three broad areas of concern” raised in the petitions the decision-making process, pricing and the choice of Indian offset partners and said there was no reason for intervention by the court on the “sensitive issue” of purchase of the jets.

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