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SC order vindicates govt's decision on Rafale pricing, offset partner: Nirmala Sitharaman


NEW DELHI: Welcoming the Supreme Court verdict on Rafale jet, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the ruling vindicates the government's stand on the fighter plane's pricing, decision making process and offset partner selection.

Sitharaman held the defence portfolio when the Rafale issue heated up during the Lok Sabha polls.

"Welcome the SC verdict on #Rafale. Shows government's decision was right on the price, the process and on the offsets. @PMOIndia @narendramodi put #NationalSecurity on top. @IAF_MCC needed to be strengthened without any further delay. #NationFirst. Motivated propaganda defeated," she tweeted.

She also said that the 'Chor' comment by the then Congress president Rahul Gandhi was irresponsible and he should tender an apology for misleading the people.

"Chor comment by Shri. @RahulGandhi of @INCIndia repeated several times over for political gains, brazenly accusing the @PMOIndia is called out for what it is, irresponsible. He should apologise to the nation for misleading the people with blatant lies, even in the Lok Sabha," she said in another tweet.

"@INCIndia should introspect for having sailed along even as its leader repeatedly insulted @PMOIndia. #NationalSecurity can't be compromised for political ambitions. The Armed Forces were demoralised by the brazen allegations against the then Chief of @IAF_MCC by the @INCIndia," she said.

The Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi carried out an aggressive campaign before the last Lok Sabha elections against the multi-billion dollars deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France.

During the protests, the opposition parties disrupted the proceedings of both houses of Parliament for days together.

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to re-examine the aspects of pricing, decision making process and selection of the offset partner in India's deal for purchase of Rafale jet fighters from French company Dassault Aviation.

In the review petition, there were allegations of irregularities on pricing and doubts were raised on decision making in giving priority to Rafale. Aspersions were also cast on choosing Anil Ambani's company as an offset partner.

The apex court dismissed the pleas seeking review of the December 14, 2018 verdict in which it had said that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets.