The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it would consider conducting a hearing on a petition seeking review of its verdict in the Rafale case.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, along with former UPA ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, had moved the apex court seeking a review of its December 14 judgment dismissing a plea seeking a court-monitored probe into the intergovernmental deal between India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale MMRCA fighters. In response to him, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the court would do something for the listing of the case as a bench is to be constituted for it.
Bhushan had said in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's verdict that the judgment had been "flawed" and had alleged that it had relied on incorrect submissions made by the government. Besides the review petition, Bhushan has also filed an application seeking perjury prosecution against some central government employees for allegedly giving misleading information to the court.
In its December 14 verdict, the CJI-led three-judge bench had cleared the decision-making process in the Rafale deal which has come to be a political talking point on account of the Opposition's allegations of it entailing a 'scam'.
In terms of the decision-making process, the Supreme Court had said, "On the decision-making process we are satisfied. There is no occasion to set aside the contract. These are contracts for defence procurement. Broadly the process has been followed. Quality of aircraft is not in question, mere conjecture is of no use."
On the other two matters, i.e. pricing and offset, in the first, the apex court had cited the CAG's report on the deal, which at that point hadn't yet been tabled, while in the second, it had said that offsets weren't in the area of the court to examine. The Opposition had raised the mistake regarding the CAG report's submission, and in subsequent weeks, proceeded to preemptively attack the government's auditor, with Rahul Gandhi calling the CAG the 'Chowkidaar Auditor General'.
When the report was released, it revealed that the NDA's Rafale deal was 2.86% less expensive than the UPA's non-deal.
Despite the Supreme Court clearing the deal, as well as copious matters relating to it being brought to light by way of Parliament debates, news interviews, media reports and other means, Rahul Gandhi has remained insistent on making the issue his major 'corruption' poll plank for the upcoming elections. He hasn't yet, however, substantiated his allegations - generally along the lines that 'PM Modi took Rs 30,000 crore from the public and gave it to his friend Anil Ambani' - though he had recently latched onto a media report that turned out to be a fatal case of fake news.