India court rejects call for probe into French jet deal

Supreme Court of India dismisses petitions seeking probe into purchase of 36 warplanes from France

India court rejects call for probe into French jet deal

India’s Supreme Court on Friday dismissed petitions seeking an independent probe into a multi-billion-dollar purchase of French warplanes, which triggered a political controversy this year in the country.

“…having heard the matter in detail, we find no reason for any intervention by this Court on the sensitive issue of purchase of 36 defence aircrafts (estimated cost Rs 58,000 crore ($8.7 billion) by the Indian Government. Perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a fishing and roving enquiry by this Court, especially in such matters,” the judgment read.

On April 10, 2015, an Indo­French joint statement, had said “in view of the critical operational necessity for Multirole Combat Aircraft for Indian Air Force, Government of India would like to acquire [36] Rafale jets in fly-away condition as quickly as possible.”

Main opposition Congress party had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of buying the aircrafts at nearly three times higher to the price the Congress party negotiated before 2014 (when they were in power).

The Congress party also accused BJP government of favoring billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group while choosing a domestic partner for Dassault Aviation -- the French aircraft manufacturer.

The Indian government has denied all the allegations repeatedly. They however, have not released the pricing details saying that there is secrecy clause regarding to the pricing in the deal.

“We do not find any substantial material on record to show that this is a case of commercial favouritism to any party by the Indian Government[…],” the judgment said.