Rafale verdict will have positive impact on overall military procurement, says former IAF chief Dhanoa

Rafale verdict will have positive impact on overall military procurement, says former IAF chief Dhanoa
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Former Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa welcomed the Supreme Court decision to uphold its earlier verdict that had cleared the central government in the controversial Rafale defence deal, ANI reported.

New Delhi : Former Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa welcomed the Supreme Court decision to uphold its earlier verdict that had cleared the central government in the controversial Rafale defence deal, ANI reported.

"I think we have been vindicated," Dhanoa told the news agency. "In December 2018, I had issued a statement that Supreme Court has given a fine judgement and at that time some people said that I was being political, which was incorrect."

He added that such matters should not be brought up for political gains. "I hope the matter is now laid to rest...putting the interest of your armed forces behind is not right."

Dhanoa said the Indian Air Force defended the Rafale deal as it was done on merit, Hindustan Times reported. "The price-negotiations were done by the then deputy chief who is now the Chief of Air Staff. We were absolutely sure the deal was above board," he added.

The former air chief said Rafale fighter jets are crucial for India. "Fighters squadrons are dropping and we cannot allow it to drop beyond 30 squadrons to put a credible deterrence," he said.

"The two squadrons of Rafale, an additional Russian made Su-30 Mki and two more squadrons of indigenously made Light Combat Aircraft-Tejas will give the required muscle."

Union Home Minister Amit Shah hailing the ruling as "victory of truth" and demanding an apology from opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.

BJP working president J P Nadda said Gandhi tried to "mislead the nation from road to Parliament". Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned if he raised the issue at the behest of the French firm's rivals.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed that the Supreme Court judgment has paved way for a comprehensive criminal investigation into Rafale "scam" but the BJP government was "misleading" the country on the impact of the verdict.

The judgment is not a clean chit, but paves way for full investigation, he said, and asked the government if it had the courage to order an independent probe.

Surjewala said the answer cannot be found through a court judgment but through a detailed fact-finding investigation by the JPC.

"Rather than indulging in celebrations, BJP Government should agree to a JPC investigation. Otherwise, it will be proved beyond doubt that BJP Government is not 'corruption free and actually wants to remain 'investigation free'," he told reporters.

Congress sources also said the party may raise the issue during the Parliament session in consonance with other like-minded parties.

Congress leader Javeer Shergill said it has become clear that the judgment of the court in Rafale case would not stand 'in the way of' the investigating agency and taking action.

Prasad said Gandhi stooped to the "shameful" extent of misquoting the top court deliberately and went on to "lie" in Parliament and even wrongly quoted French president Emmanuel Macron and his predecessor Francois Hollande on India's fighter aircraft deal with the country.

"Satyamev jayate. The order is a victory of truth, a victory of national security and also a recognition of the honest decision making process of the Narendra Modi government," he said.

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