The Supreme Court on Monday allowed lawyer ML Sharma to withdraw his request to subpoena documents to the French investigative agency, the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA), which would have shown that the aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation had paid 1 million euros to an Indian company in connection with the French Indo-Accord Rafale affair.
“After considering the facts and circumstances, no case is established to exercise jurisdiction,” a bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit and S. Ravindra Bhat concluded in its order.
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The petition had Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the first respondent, followed by Sushen Mohan Gupta, Defsys Solutions Private Limited, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited, Center and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
During the brief hearing, Mr Sharma said his petition was filed in 2021. Time has passed and he would only focus on asking the court to issue a letter rogatory to summon the document allegedly showing the payment of the money.
“The document should be presented. The matter is serious,” Mr. Sharma said.
The petition originally urged the higher court to order the registration of an FIR under various offenses including cheating, criminal breach of trust, sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the official secrets.
He had urged the court to issue “an appropriate written instruction to rescind/cancel the September 23, 2016 agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters from Dassault France for being found to have committed fraud, corruption and breach of the Official Secrets Act and to recover all of the money advanced with penalty and to blacklist Dassault”. Mr Sharma said the first four respondents named in the petition should be prosecuted.
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“To prosecute them under the supervision of this court, coupled with a further instruction to issue an appropriate writ to nullify the September 2016 intergovernmental agreement, which was the result of bribery/corruption,” it said. the petition.
“The September 2016 deal was signed by the defense ministers of India and France and called the ‘Rafale deal’, in which India would pay around ₹58,000 crore or €7.8 billion for 36 ready-to-use Dassault Rafale twin-engine fighters coupled with 15% advance payment of this cost.Under the agreement, India will also receive spare parts and weapons, including the Meteor missile, considered to be the ‘one of the most advanced in the world,'” the petition read.