The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought more information from the government on the Rafale combat jet deal, including its pricing and deemed advantages.
The court directed that the government must share with the petitioners the details that it has furnished before the court, relating to the decision-making process leading to the purchase of the 36 Rafale jets in a fly-away condition.
However, the apex court added to its order that "if the material is strategic in nature or involves national security, the government may choose to not disclose to petitioners, but the government will be required to submit the details in a sealed cover to the court."
The court also said that they will not be passing any findings or comments on the issue.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the Centre it should state in an affidavit the "difficulty" in sharing the information on pricing after Attorney General KK Venugopal said it might not be possible to disclose the cost.
The Supreme Court was hearing the PIL filed by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Prashant Bhushan, The petitioners alleged the violation of procurement procedures with regard to the deal.
The PIL has also sought the Supreme Court to supervise the investigation into the Rafale deal. None of the PILs question the suitability of Rafale or its utility to the Indian Air Force.
With the petitioners and public, it must also share as far as possible the selection process for the Indian offset partner in the defence deal, the bench said.
As counsel Prashant Bhushan pressed for a court-monitored CBI probe, the Chief Justice told him to wait apparently, indicating the current turmoil in the investigating agency.
(With inputs from IANS)
First Published: IST