NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court verdict giving clean chit to the purchase of Rafale fighter jets evoked contrasting reactions from the BJP and the opposition Congress, which had led a sustained campaign on the issue against the Modi government in the run up to the 2019 general elections.
The top court òn Thursday gave a clean chit to the Modi government on the purchase of 36 fully loaded Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault Aviation and rejected the plea for registration of an FIR by the CBI for alleged commission of cognisable offence in the deal.
“We find the review petitions are without any merit,” said a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
Justice Joseph, who wrote a separate judgment, said he agreed with the main verdict written by Justice Kaul subject to certain aspects on which he has given his own reasons.
While the BJP chief Amit Shah welcomed the SC verdict and slammed the opposition for running a “malicious and baseless” campaign, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi cited parts of the judgment written by SC judge Justice Jospeh to renew their demands for JPC probe into the purchase of Rafale jets.
Amit Shah termed the Supreme Court verdict on Rafale deal a befitting reply to the leaders and parties who rely on “malicious and baseless” campaign.
Amit Shah, in a series of tweets, said the apex court has proved that the disruption of Parliament over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal was a “sham”.
“Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the review petition on #Rafale is a befitting reply to those leaders and parties who rely on malicious and baseless campaigns,” he said.
Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the review petition on #Rafale is a befitting reply to those leaders and partie… https://t.co/Qcy2UkfVib
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1573726361000
The home minister said Thursday’s order of the Supreme Court has yet again reaffirmed the Narendra Modi government’s credentials as a government which is transparent and corruption free.
“Now, it has been proved that disruption of Parliament over #Rafale was a sham.
The time could have been better utilised for the welfare of people.
“After today’s rebuke from SC, Congress and its leader, for whom politics is above national interest must apologise to the nation,” he said.
Now, it has been proved that disruption of Parliament over #Rafale was a sham. The time could have been better util… https://t.co/67mlhFVwFF
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) 1573726487000
However, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the Supreme Court’s Justice K M Joseph has left open a “huge door” for investigation into the Rafale deal and demanded that a probe must begin in full earnest.
He also called for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the fighter jet contract.
Justice Joseph of the Supreme Court has opened a huge door into investigation of the RAFALE scam. An investigatio… https://t.co/Kb5xg3fVa3
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1573728586000
At a press conference, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the BJP should stop celebration and the focus should be on investigation as the court decision has paved the way for a probe into the Rafale deal.
He alleged that the BJP was misleading the people on the issue.
With the Congress insisting on a high-level probe into the deal after the court’s order, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was really “shameless” of the opposition party to continue to push for an investigation despite losing the battle in courts as well as in elections.
The law minister also questioned if Rahul had raised the issue at the behest of the French firm’s rivals.
The Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi have carried out an aggressive campaign before the last Lok Sabha elections against the multi-billion dollars deal to buy 36 Rafael fighter aircraft from France.
During the protests, the opposition parties disrupted the proceedings of both houses of Parliament for days together.
(With inputs from PTI)