Eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan, economist and journalist Arun Shourie and former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha address a press conference in New Delhi on Sept 11, 2018. (File Photo: IANS)
New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) Former BJP Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking registration of FIR and investigation by CBI into the Rafale deal.
Contending that the there was "prima facie evidence of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act by public servants occupying the highest of public offices in the country", they also sought court direction refraining the Modi government from "influencing or intimidating" officials who would investigate the offences.
The petitioners moved the apex court after the CBI "under pressure from the government" did not register an FIR on their complaint.
The trio on Oct 4 had handed over a complaint to CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma, demanding registration of FIR against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleged abuse of public office causing undue benefit worth "tens of thousands of crores" to a crony capitalist in the Rafale jet fighter deal.
"It is clear that there is enormous pressure on the CBI because of the nature of the persons involved not to undertake this investigation," they said praying for a SC monitored probe by specially designated CBI officers.
The petition contends that the intergovernmental deal with France to purchase 36 Rafale jets announced by Modi in April 2015, was in complete violation of all laid-down defence procurement procedures.
The petitioners have also cited French media reports about former France President Francois Hollande as saying that India had proposed the Indian private entity as the partner for the deal, to substantiate their charges of the deal being in violation of procedural mandates.
It also states that the French government and Rafale makers Dassault Aviation were told that the deal will materialise only if a private Indian entity was made an offset partner.
The petitioners said that the new deal gives "undue benefit" to both Dassault Aviation and the Indian company that amounted to criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The petition also seeks court's direction to ensure that CBI officers who would be probing the case are not transferred and all relevant records are not destroyed or tampered with and are transferred to the CBI.