'The questions asked to the IAF officials were very basic in nature. They were asked about fifth generation fighter planes and how they were more capable than what the Air Force currently operates. They were also asked about the generation of the Su-30MKI planes and the Rafale planes,' senior IAF officials said
New Delhi: In the Supreme Court, the Indian Air Force (IAF) officials were asked very basic questions by the judiciary like how modern were the Su-30MKI aircraft which are the mainstay of the force and whether India had any fifth generation fighter aircraft in its fleet while hearing the cases related to the Rafale deal.
The top brass of IAF including Vice Chief Air Marshal Anil Khosla, Deputy Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhary and Assistant Chief (Projects) Air Vice Marshal J Chelapati had represented the service when they were summoned by the top court to clarify on the deal.
"The questions asked to the IAF officials were very basic in nature. They were asked about fifth generation fighter planes and how they were more capable than what the Air Force currently operates. They were also asked about the generation of the Su-30MKI planes and the Rafale planes," senior IAF officials said.
In the court, since the two Air Marshals are new in chair as both the Vice Chief and the Deputy Chief took over on the same day on September 30, the ACAS (Projects) AVM Chelapati did most of the answering before the judges.
When asked if the Air Force had inducted any high-tech plane after 1985 when the last of the Miarge-2000 were inducted, the Air Force officials replied that they had not done so after 1985.
On Monday, the government had submitted details of how it decided to buy 36 fighter jets from French defence manufacturer Dassault at Rs. 59,000 crore, to the top court and the petitioners who have asked for an investigation into the deal.
The pricing details, which the Centre said were classified, were also submitted in a sealed cover to the court.
Defending the secrecy clause regarding the pricing of the fighter jets, the Attorney General KK Venugopal said on Wednesday, "Our adversaries may get advantage if the entire details on the pricing are disclosed."
Refusing to divulge details on the pricing aspect, Venugopal said he would not be able to assist the court further on the pricing issue.
"I decided not to see it myself as in a case of any leak, my office would be held responsible," he said while adding that “even the Parliament has not been told about the complete cost of jets”.
His response came after lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners, alleged that the government was hiding behind the secrecy clause to not disclose the price of the Rafale jets.
Bhushan alleged the price per aircraft was Euros 155 million and now it is Euros 270 million. This shows that there was hike of 40% in its price, the advocate said.
Last Updated Nov 15, 2018, 9:36 AM IST