The Congress on Sunday questioned the Centre’s silence over French authorities’ investigation into the Rs 59,000-crore Rafale jet deal. The Opposition party again demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the allegations of corruption in deal with party leader Rahul Gandhi asking why the investigation was not being ordered.
In a mocking tweet, Gandhi asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government was not ready for the JPC investigation. He listed options as answers- guilt conscience, friends, too, need to be protected, JPC doesn’t need a Rajya Sabha seat, and all the options are right.
Congress party spokesperson Pawan Khera while addressing a press conference in the national capital alleged that national security is not the government’s priority, unlike previous governments. He said that every successive government has always prioritised and taken pride in the national security policy, but it was merely a slogan for the Modi government. The BJP government does everything under the sun to undermine India’s security interests when it comes to filling the coffers of its corporate friends, he said.
Further, he said that the Rafale deal was an inter-governmental one between India and France and one of the two countries had initiated a probe while the other was yet to even comment. After more than 24 hours of the decision by France to investigate corruption, influence peddling, money laundering, favouritism, there is one question every responsible Indian, every concerned citizen asks – Why is the Government of India still silent? he asked.
Khera also sought to know why there is no enquiry on the role of the key functionaries of the Indian government when the French Public Prosecution Services has initiated a probe against the previous president of France, who was one of the parties to the deal. He also said that it is insulting to the people of India that this government and its ministers have stayed tight-lipped about this entire scandal. Why is the Minister of Defence silent on accountability and scrutiny? he added.
Suggesting that the deal was now rapidly heading towards being an “open and shut” case, the Congress spokesperson alleged that anti-corruption clauses from the deal were removed. He also accused middlemen of being involved in the proceedings.
The Congress spokesperson also cited certain documents which claimed that the amount decided for the deal by Indian negotiators was massively spiked. He also alleged that anti-corruption clauses from the deal mysteriously disappeared, and accused middlemen of being involved in the proceedings.
The Opposition parties’ comments came a day after a French investigative website, Mediapart, reported that the French national financial prosecutor has announced a judicial probe into suspected corruption over the 7.8-billion-euro sale to India in 2016 of 36 Dassault-built Rafale fighter aircraft.