Rafale hearing: Vice Air Marshal appears in SC

New Delhi [India], Nov 14 (ANI): Air Vice Marshal T Chalapathi of Indian Air Force appeared before the Supreme Court along with other senior officers on Wednesday, after the Chief Justice demanded the presence of seniors from Indian Air Force to answer queries on Rafale aircraft, Justice Gogoi asked them about the recent induction in the country's air defence system and also the latest aircraft being manufactured in India. Other senior officials, Air Marshal VR Chaudhari, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Khosla and certain others were also present in the Court. Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court that government had no role in selecting offset partners for Dassault for the Rafale deal. He added that the selection of Reliance as an offset partner was a commercial decision taken by the Dassault. The Court also asked about the change in offset guidelines in 2015, Additional Secretary of Defence Ministry explained the defence offset guideline to the court and said that the offset contract runs concurrently with the main contract. Venugopal also informed the Court that Dassault has not yet submitted details of offset partner to government. He also said that Egypt, France, Qatar were the other countries that procured Rafale jets other than India. A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S K Kaul and K M Joseph are hearing a bunch of petitions pertaining to the Central government's Rafale deal with French aviation company Dassault. Prashant Bhushan, appearing for former union minister and one of the petitioners Arun Shourie, submitted to the court that the government's argument of secrecy clause being in place is a "bogus" one Petitioners Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha, and Bhushan told the Supreme Court that the government short-circuited fresh tender process for 36 Rafale jets to procure them through restricted Inter-Government Agreement mechanism. Bhushan also argued that the deal was changed because Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to make Ambani's Reliance a partner.
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