After the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the Modi government by dismissing the review petitions in the Rafale case against its December 14, 2018 judgment, BS Dhanoa, former chief of the Air Staff said that the Air Force has been always 'defending the deal.' Moreover, stated that the Air Force has always been defending the deal.
He said, "I think we have been vindicated. Secondly, Air Force has always been defending the deal, not only for the aircraft but we have been saying the cost negotiating committee was headed by then deputy chief. They have done a wonderful job, got us a good deal and a fine Aircraft. I don't want to go into the politics of it. But there were a lot of people very skeptical at that time, and they have all been proven wrong and we have been proven right."
BS Dhanoa, former chief of the Air Staff: I think we have been vindicated. In December 2018 I had issued a statement that Supreme Court has given a fine judgement and at that time some people said that I was being political, which was incorrect. #RafaleVerdict pic.twitter.com/pWZYOOpPTb— ANI (@ANI) November 14, 2019
"In December 2018 I had issued a statement that the Supreme Court has given a fine judgment and at that time some people said that I was being political, which was incorrect. I hope the matter is now laid to rest. Raking up such issues to get political gains, at the cost of preparedness of the armed forces, I think it's not right," the former Air Force chief added.
Congress' Veerappa Moily had accused the former Air Force chief of 'lying' and 'suppressing the truth' in December 2020 over the Rafale deal. While the statement was retracted later, he had said, "Today, to say it is fine (the SC judgment)...I think that IAF chief is not fine....he is not fine, he is lying. He is suppressing the truth. He is a party to suppressing the truth."
The top court rejected the plea that there was a need for registration of an FIR in connection with the Rafale deal. The five-judge bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul, and KM Joseph pronounced the contentious judgment. Justice Kaul, pronouncing the judgment said that the Court found "no merit" in the review petition. The Supreme Court further said, "This Court did not think it appropriate to embark on the roving and fishing inquiry."
In May 2019, a three-judge bench had reserved verdict in the petition seeking review of the earlier December 14 judgment on the government-to-government deal to procure 36 Rafale aircraft.
During the Rafale hearing, the Supreme Court had looked into three aspects of the deal - the decision-making process, the pricing and the choice of the Indian offset partner. It had found no occasion to doubt the decision-making process and said it didn't find anything wrong in the selection of Indian offset partner by manufacturer Dassault. On the third criterion, it had said it wasn't its job to go into the pricing aspects.