India court rejects probe of purchase of French fighter jets
NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top court on Thursday rejected petitions seeking a probe into the government’s purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault Aviation over pricing issues.
Three Supreme Court judges said they didn’t see any merit in the petitions filed by two former ministers and an activist seeking an investigation of the Rafale deal.
The opposition Congress party has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of buying the aircraft at nearly three times the price that was being negotiated by a Congress-led government before Modi came to power in 2014.
The government denies the claim but is refusing to disclose the aircrafts’ price, citing a secrecy clause.
Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi accused Modi’s government of favoring a company owned by industrialist Anil Ambani, Reliance Group, when choosing an Indian partner for Dassault.
In December last year, the top court rejected petitions filed by activists challenging the Rafale deal, with Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi saying there was no reason to doubt the government’s decision making.
Gogoi also said it was not the job of the court to deal with pricing details.
The first aircraft is due to arrive in India in May. The deliveries are expected to be completed by 2022.