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Modi misused Rafale deal to benefit Dassault Aviation, alleges Congress

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the National Cemetery in Seoul, South Korea on February 22, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi misused the Rafale fighter aircraft deal to benefit Dassault Aviation, the company that manufactures the fighter jets.

It was a clear-cut case of 13 1 (D) under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the time had come to lodge an FIR against Mr. Modi, he said.

At a press conference, Mr. Surjewala cited The Hindu’s report on March 6. He said Mr. Modi had gifted away ₹4,305 crore worth of bank guarantees despite the Finance and Law Ministries flagging it.

“While calculating, the cost of India Specific Enhancements (ISE) that almost ran to ₹10,000 crore, was not included,” said Mr. Surjewala. During the United Progressive Alliance regime, the cost of ISE was ₹83 crore an aircraft but under the National Democratic Alliance rule, it was ₹271 crore an aircraft.

Mr. Surjewala said transfer of technology was the most expensive part of a deal. “But this deal didn’t have it at all. If you add nearly ₹10,000 crore, the cost of the Rafale deal is close to ₹70,000 crore.”

The decision to buy the 36 Rafale jets were taken by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, he alleged. “It was not taken by the Indian Negotiation Team. Mr. Doval was in France and he did the final negotiation. He was neither authorised by the Cabinet Committee on Security nor was he a part of the team,” said Mr. Surjewala.

“Time has come for the Prime Minister to prove that he is not guilty by submitting himself to an FIR and an inquiry,” Mr. Surjewala added.

Official Secrets Act

On Attorney General K.K. Venugopal saying in the the Supreme Court that Official Secrets Act be invoked against those who published file notings, Mr. Surjewala said it was an attempt to enslave the media.

“The Congress party will stand with the media. If the government has guts, please go ahead with cases against the media and the citizens. Modi ji perhaps feared of such a scenario where he could come under scanner and that’s why the NDA changed the Prevention of Corruption Act and added that prior written sanction is necessary,” he said.

People were the biggest court and Mr. Modi was trying to change the narrative, as unemployment was at its peak, he said.

On the ‘mosquito’ comment of Gen. V.K. Singh (retd.), Mr. Surjewala said it was not surprising since Gen. V.K. Singh had called former Army Chief Gen D. Suhag a ‘daaku’ (robber).

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 9:39:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/modi-misused-rafale-deal-to-benefit-dassault-aviation-congress/article26447176.ece

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