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As BJP targets it on Rafale, Congress asks why didn’t govt order probe

The BJP government inked the deal on September 23, 2016, to procure 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation after a nearly seven-year exercise to procure 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft for the IAF did not fructify during the UPA regime.

RafaleCongress and BJP are taking potshots at each other over Mediapart's fresh report on the Rafale deal (file photo)

The BJP and Congress on Tuesday engaged in a war of words over claims in a French portal report that commissions were paid between 2007 and 2012 for securing the Rafale aircraft deal.

While the BJP targeted the opposition party over Mediapart’s report that Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale fighter jets, paid 7.5 million euros to an alleged middleman between 2007 and 2012, when the UPA was in power, the Congress hit back by asking why the government has not ordered a joint parliamentary committee probe yet.

The BJP said the INC (Indian National Congress) should be renamed ‘I Need Commission’, alleging that the Congress’s dissatisfaction with the cut on offer was behind its failed negotiations when the UPA was in power.

Targeting the Congress leadership, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra accused Rahul Gandhi, who has been alleging corruption in the purchase of the fighter aircraft by the Narendra Modi government, of spreading lies. He said Rahul should respond to the fresh claims. According to Mediapart’s investigation, Dassault Aviation paid the kickbacks to the intermediary in Mauritius.

The BJP government inked the deal on September 23, 2016, to procure 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation after a nearly seven-year exercise to procure 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft for the IAF did not fructify during the UPA regime.

To a question about Congress’s query as to why the government has not probed the matter, Patra said the alleged middleman, Sushen Mohan Gupta, was earlier arrested by ED in a corruption case. The probe agencies must be looking into the matter, he said.

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Pointing out that as per Mediapart’s report, the office of the Attorney General of Mauritius sent documents to the CBI in October 2018, which showed the involvement of Gupta’s Mauritius company in the deal, the Congress asked why the government has not acted on it in the past three years. “On October 11, 2018, the Government of Mauritius… supplied documents to the CBI… On October 23, 2018, the PM-led committee removed then CBI Director Alok Verma, raided the CBI headquarters through Delhi Police and appointed… M Nageshwar Rao as the CBI chief. This was part of a concerted conspiracy to bury the Rafale ghost through the CBI,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told reporters.

First published on: 10-11-2021 at 02:05:32 am
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