Indian Supreme Court saves PM Narendra Modi from a big disaster

Indian Supreme Court saves PM Narendra Modi from a big disaster
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NEW DELHI - India s top court dismissed Friday calls for an investigation into a French military jet deal that was threatening to damage Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of elections next year.

Critics had accused Modi of using the 2016 multi-billion dollar accord between India and French aircraft manufacturer Dassault for Rafale aircraft to favour a key billionaire backer.

In an eagerly awaited judgement on a slew of petitions brought by activists and politicians, India s Supreme Court refused to intervene, saying it had "no doubt in the process".

"We do not find any substantial material on record to show that this is a case of commercial favouritism to any party by the Indian government," the three-judge bench said.

Dassault initially won the contract to supply 126 jets to India in 2012, with 18 to be built in France and the rest in India in collaboration with the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

However, during a visit to France in 2015 Modi scrapped the deal, signed under the previous government led by the Congress party, and ordered instead 36 jets -- all to be built in France -- for an estimated $9.4 billion. -APP/AFP

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