New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the Supreme Court's Justice KM Joseph has left open a "huge door" for investigation into the Rafale deal and demanded that a probe must begin in full earnest. He also called for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the fighter jet contract.
Gandhi's remarks came after the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the Narendra Modi-led government on the purchase of 36 fully-loaded Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault Aviation, rejecting the plea for registration of an FIR by the CBI for alleged commission of cognisable offence in the deal.
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.
However, Gandhi referred to Justice Joseph's observation that the judgment "would not stand in the way" of the CBI from taking action on the complaint for lodging of an FIR.
Justice Joseph of the Supreme Court has opened a huge door into investigation of the RAFALE scam.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 14 November 2019
"We find the review petitions are without any merit," the bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and Joseph had said earlier on Thursday.
Responding to Gandhi's call for a JPC inquiry, the BJP said no amount of "selective and convenient nitpicking" would help the Congress leader as the Supreme Court verdict was a "comprehensive indictment" of his "lies".
“No amount of hair splitting or selective & convenient nitpicking will help you. You have been shamed for disgraceful conduct & distasteful comments. The judgment is a comprehensive indictment of your lies. Clutching at straws won't help redeem your condemnation," BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said in a tweet.
Reading out the judgement, Justice Kaul said the judges had reached the conclusion that it is not appropriate to order a roving inquiry into the allegations.
Justice Joseph, who wrote a separate judgement, said he agreed with the main verdict written by Justice Kaul subject to certain aspects on which he has given his own reasons.
"Justice Joseph of the Supreme Court has opened a huge door into investigation of the Rafale scam. An investigation must now begin in full earnest. A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) must also be set up to probe this scam," Gandhi tweeted with the hashtag 'BJP Lies On Rafale'.
At a press conference, Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the BJP should stop celebration and the focus should be on investigation as the court decision has paved the way for a probe into the Rafale deal. He alleged that the BJP was misleading the people on the issue.