SC may hear PIL to stay Rafale deal next week

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it may hear a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a stay on the controversial Rafale deal between India and France, next week.

“This deal is the country’s biggest corruption deal case,” the petition filed by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma read. It further stated that an “FIR should be registered against Anil Ambani and others for their alleged involvement in the corruption deal.”

The people of India have been put in the dark through this deal, Sharma claimed. The petition comes at a time when the Congress party is holding district-wise protests and conducting at least 100 press conferences to reach out to the general public and make them aware of the deal. It is also set to make the Rafale deal one of their primary agendas for the 2019 general election campaign.

Since a long time, the Congress party has been targeting the central government and alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre paid a higher cost per jet than the deal they had agreed to.

On August 18, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had constituted a six-member task force to look into the alleged scam.

The Rafale jets were chosen in 2012. India initially planned to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets from France, with 108 others to be assembled in the country by the state-run plane-maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

The BJP government scrapped the UPA’s plan in 2015 and announced that it would buy 36 “ready-to-fly” Rafale jets instead of seeking a technology transfer from France’s Dassault Aviation and making the aircraft in India.