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'PM Modi’s Silence Echoing Across the World': Cong on Rafale Deal

Two days after France appointed a judge to probe the Rafale Deal, Congress asked why the Modi government was quiet.

Updated
India
3 min read
'PM Modi’s Silence Echoing Across the World': Cong on Rafale Deal
i

Two days after France appointed a judge to probe the controversial 2016 Rafale Deal, Congress’ senior leader Pawan Khera held a press conference, demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), and asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was silent on the matter. "This silence is echoing across the world,” he added.

The Rs 60,000 crore (7.8 billion euros) deal for 36 planes between French aircraft manufacturer Dassault and the Indian government has been under a cloud of corruption allegations since the deal was signed in September 2016.

Although, Khera added, “Narendra Modi’s govt makes a loud song and dance about national security, but it does everything under the sun to undermine India’s security interests when it comes to filling the coffers of its corporate friends; those who we call crony capitalists.”

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Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi started a poll on Twitter, asking, "Why is the Modi government not ready for probe?"

Saying that every successive government, ever since Independence, has prioritised and taken pride in India’s national security policy, Khera asked why the Modi government was silent after France opened an investigation into allegations of “corruption, influence peddling, money laundering, favouritism."

Khera further said that the Rafale deal was an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) between India and France, but is now quickly becoming an open and shut case of corruption among other allegations.

He said, “Now, given that the French public prosecution service has initiated an investigation into corruption allegations against the previous and the current incumbent President of France. Why is the other side silent? More so, when in this deal, France was the gainer, India was the loser.”

“The side which suffered a loss of public exchequer is quiet. Not even a word, not a whimper,” he added.

Inter-Governmental Agreement

An IGA, Khera explained, is supposed to ensure the lowest price of procurement, no middlemen, and no corruption.

“That’s the reason why two sovereigns enter into an IGA.” However, saying that all pillars of the IGA were done away with, Khera reminded, “the UPA was negotiating to buy the Rafale fighter jets for Rs 570 crore, but they were bought for Rs 1670 crore.”

Moreover, claiming that the anti-corruption clause was removed, Khera said, “The Indian National Congress (INC) repeats its demand that a fair Joint Parliamentary Committee be constituted immediately to investigate every aspect of the rafale deal. The people of India deserve to know the truth”

The Rafale Deal Controversy

The BJP-led Centre has signed a controversial inter-governmental deal with the French government on 23 September 2016.

Defsys Solutions, a sub-contractor in the Rafale deal, is a company run by Sushen Gupta, who is currently out on bail over investigation by the Enforcement Directorate and CBI in the 2013 Augusta Westland VVIP chopper deal.

Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. It is an omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie.

The deal became controversial after the Congress claimed that the price at which India purchased each jet, which stands at Rs 1,670 crore, is three times the initial bid of Rs 526 crore when the UPA was planning to buy the aircraft.

However, the Modi government has not disclosed the details of the price citing a confidentiality agreement with France and strategic security reasons.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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