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Rafale Deal: Chronology of events

Here is the chronology of events related to the Rafale Deal

  • December 30, 2002: Defense Procurement Procedures (DPP) is adopted to speed up procurement.
  • August 28, 2007: The Ministry of Defense launches a call for tenders for the acquisition of 126 MMRCA fighters (medium multifunction combat aircraft).
  • September 4, 2008: The Reliance group led by Mukesh Ambani integrates Reliance Aerospace Technologies Ltd (RATL).
  • May 2011: The Air Force preselects the Rafale and the Eurofighter.
  • January 30, 2012: Dassault Aviation’s Rafale aircraft is the lowest bidder.
  • March 13, 2014: Signing of a work-sharing agreement between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Dassault Aviation under which they were respectively responsible for 70% and 30% of the work of 108 aircraft.
  • August 8, 2014: Then Defense Minister Arun Jaitley told Parliament that 18 direct-flight planes are expected to be delivered within 3-4 years of signing the contract. There are 108 aircraft remaining to be delivered over the next seven years.
  • April 8, 2015: The then Foreign Minister said detailed discussions were underway between Dassault, the Defense Ministry and HAL.
  • April 10, 2015: A new agreement was announced for the acquisition of 36 aircraft with direct flights from France.
  • January 26, 2016: India and France sign a memorandum of understanding for 36 Rafale.
  • September 23, 2016: Signature of the intergovernmental agreement.
  • November 18, 2016: The government declares to Parliament that the cost of each Rafale aircraft will be around Rs 670 million and that all planes will be delivered in April 2022.
  • December 31, 2016: Dassault Aviation’s annual report reveals the actual price paid for the 36 planes at around Rs 60 billion, more than double the price declared by the government to Parliament.
  • March 13, 2018: South Carolina Public Interest Litigation (PIL) calls for an independent investigation into the Centre’s decision to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and the disclosure of the costs involved in the deal to Parliament .
  • September 5, 2018: SC agrees to listen to PIL seeking to remain in the Rafale fighter plan agreement.
  • September 18, 2018: SC postpones hearing on PIL which seeks to remain in the Rafale fighter jets agreement to October 10.
  • October 8, 2018: SC agrees to hear on October 10 that new PILs request instructions from the Center to present on “sealed cover” details of the agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
  • October 10, 2018: SC asks the Center to provide details on the decision-making process under the Rafale fighter jets deal in a sealed bridge.
  • October 24, 2018: Former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan relocate the SC, seeking FIR registration under the Rafale fighter jets deal.
  • October 31, 2018: SC asks the Center to place in front of it in a sealed bridge within 10 days the price details of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
  • November 12, 2018: The Center places pricing details for 36 Rafale fighter jets in a sealed front SC cover. It also details the stages which led to the conclusion of the Rafale agreement.
  • November 14, 2018: SC reserves the order on the grounds of seeking a judicial inquiry into the Rafale settlement.
  • December 14, 2018: SC says there is no reason to doubt the decision-making process of the Modi government and rejects all petitions requesting instructions from the CBI to register an FIR for alleged irregularities in the aircraft agreement.
  • December 15, 2018: The government requests a correction from the Supreme Court in the paragraph referring to the report of the CAG and the PAC.
  • January 2, 2019: Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, defender Prashant Bhushan, move to SC to seek review of the Rafale verdict.
  • January 14, 2019: AAP MP Sanjay Singh asks the SC to review Rafale’s verdict.
  • February 21, 2019: Bhushan requests a guilty plea hearing for the perjury prosecution of some officials for misleading the court in the Rafale case.
  • February 26, 2019: SC decides to listen to the allegations requesting a review of Rafale’s verdict in open court.
  • February 26, 2019: SC decides to hear pleas seeking review of Rafale verdict in open court.
  • March 6, 2019: Documents related to Rafale deal stolen from Defence Ministry, Centre tells SC, threatens The Hindu newspaper with the Official Secrets Act for publishing articles based on them.
  • March 8, 2019: Attorney General clarifies that Rafale documents not stolen, petitioners used photocopies.
  • March 13, 2019: Review plea based on leaked secret documents jeopardises national security, Centre tells SC.
  • March 14, 2019: Will first decide preliminary objection raised by Centre, says SC, reserves verdict.
  • April 10, 2019: SC allows use of leaked documents, dismisses Centre’s objections claiming privilege.
  • Apr 12, 2019: BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi moves SC against Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remarks on Rafale to the apex court.
  • Apr 23, 2019: SC issues contempt notice to Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on Rafale verdict.
  • May 8, 2019: Gandhi tenders unconditional apology in SC.
  • May 10, 2019: SC reserves verdict on review pleas and contempt petition.
  • Nov 14,2019: SC dismisses review pleas against its verdict in the Rafale deal, rejects contention that there was need for registration of an FIR in connection with the procurement of 36 fighter jets from French firm Dassault Aviation. SC closes contempt plea against Rahul Gandhi.
  • July 27, 2020: Forty-six months after the €7.87 bn contract was signed, the first five of 36 Rafale fighter jets landed at the Ambala airbase and the crew were welcomed by Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) R.K.S. Bhadauria.
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