On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Hyderabad court had dismissed the opposition’s plea regarding the Supreme Court’s observation on the Rafale deal. The opposition had filed a petition in the Hyderabad court, seeking an investigation into the Rafale deal, following the Supreme Court’s observation that it did not find any irregularities in the procurement process. The Hyderabad court’s decision comes as a major relief for the Modi government, which has been facing a barrage of criticism from the opposition over the Rafale deal.
The Rafale deal has been a contentious issue in Indian politics since it was signed in 2016. The opposition has alleged that the Modi government had indulged in corruption and favoritism while finalizing the deal, which involves the purchase of 36 fighter jets from France. The government has repeatedly denied these allegations and has maintained that the deal was transparent and in the best interests of the country. The Supreme Court’s observation in December 2018, which dismissed the need for a court-monitored probe into the deal, was seen as a major victory for the government.
The Hyderabad court’s decision to reject the opposition’s plea is likely to further bolster the government’s position on the Rafale deal. The ruling party has already used the Supreme Court’s observation to counter the opposition’s allegations and has accused them of spreading misinformation to mislead the public. With the Hyderabad court also dismissing the plea, the government can now claim that its position on the Rafale deal has been vindicated by two separate courts. However, it remains to be seen whether this will put an end to the political controversy surrounding the deal or whether the opposition will continue to raise questions about it in the run-up to the general elections.