04 Jul 2021: Why's Modi government silent on France's Rafale deal probe: Congress
The Indian National Congress on Sunday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government over the French probe into allegations of corruption in the Rs. 59,000-crore Rafale deal. Congress national spokesperson Pawan Khera said that national security is only a slogan for the Narendra Modi government, and questioned its silence on the issue. The BJP has dismissed the allegations as lies.
Congress statement: Modi prioritizes filling pockets of industrialist friends: Khera
Khera said during a press conference that while the Modi government says that national security should not be compromised, he prioritizes filling the pockets of his "industrialist friends." Crony capitalism has been the government's priority these past seven years, he said. Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence had been signed on as the offset partner by Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation without any experience, the party claimed.
Congress statement: 'Whole world looking at Delhi. Why the silence?'
The Rafale deal was inter-governmental between India and France, Khera said, adding that while one country has initiated a probe, India has taken no action. "It's been 24 hours since France has ordered a probe on matters like corruption, influence peddling, money laundering, favoritism. The whole nation, the whole world is now looking to New Delhi. Why the silence?" he said.
Congress statement: 'Item costs Rs. 570cr bought for Rs. 1,670cr'
"Now it's getting clearer that in the Rafale deal, we've bought an item that costs Rs. 570 crore at Rs. 1,670 crore," he said. The Congress has repeatedly claimed that the deal—signed in 2016 during Modi's tenure—was negotiated at a higher price compared to the amount decided during the former Congress-led regime. Khera said the deal is heading towards an "open and shut" case.
Fact: Congress demanded joint parliamentary committee probe yesterday
Khera further repeated the April findings published in Mediapart that Dassault Aviation had paid about one million euros to an Indian middleman. Earlier on Saturday, the Congress party had demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the deal.
Gandhi: 'Chor ki dadhi,' tweets Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Saturday saying, "Chor ki dadhi," with an artwork, hinting at Modi's involvement in the alleged scam. On Sunday, Gandhi took a poll asking why the Modi government is ready for a probe. The options said: guilty conscience, saving friends, the JPC does not want a seat in the Rajya Sabha, all of the above.
Response: Gandhi welcome to fight 2024 elections on this issue: BJP
BJP's IT department in-charge Amit Malviya said on Twitter, "Rahul Gandhi, after having heaped choicest abuses in the run-up to 2019, has now stooped down to this level. People across India have rejected him but he is most welcome to fight 2024 elections on this issue!" BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also claimed that Gandhi is being used as a pawn.
Context: Deal for 36 Rafale jets was signed in 2016
The Rafale deal was signed in 2016 for 36 fighter jets for 7.8 billion euros. In April 2021, the French publication Mediapart had reported on alleged irregularities and corruption in the deal. On June 14, France opened an investigation into the alleged "corruption and favoritism" in the Rafale deal. Mediapart reported Friday that a French judge had been appointed to lead the judicial probe.
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Also see: Dassault paid 1M euros to 'middleman' in Rafale deal: Report
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