Clean chit

The Supreme Court Friday gave the Narendra Modi government a clean chit on the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and dismissed all the petitions seeking a direction to the CBI to register an FIR for alleged irregularities in the deal. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the multi-billion dollar deal. The judges concluded that there was no favouritism shown to any party in the deal.

The ruling by the apex court has come at the right moment for the ruling NDA. Down with defeats in the Assembly elections to five States, the BJP must be hoping that they can renew their strategy with just a few months to go for parliamentary  elections. In the run-up to the 2019 elections, the Congress made it a key issue to attack the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. But the judgement has come as a shot in the arm for the BJP.

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was quick to react. She said, “The court has come out clearly. The verdict is absolutely there for all of us to see. The matter on Rafale has thoroughly been, through the court, laid to rest.” And Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley came down hard on the Congress. He said, “They refused to accept even the Supreme Court verdict just because the falsehood is created by a family… certainly, in our democracy, the family is not above the Supreme Court.”

NT Bureau