The Congress on Friday sought an explanation from the BJP for “rampant corruption, compromise on national security and weakening of the defence structure” under the first NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The attack came a day after former Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitly was sentenced to four years in jail for a 2001 case of alleged corruption in a defence deal, only to be granted a stay order by the Delhi High Court a few hours later. Two others were also sentenced by the lower court to four years’ imprisonment but did not move the High Court.
The Congress also raked up the Rafale fighter jet deal controversy in the wake of the judgement. “The verdict of the court also highlights the need to investigate the truth of Rafale deal and proves that truth needs to be investigated and is not what the BJP says,” said spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill.
Shergill said that the conviction of Jaitly and two others by the lower court had exposed the NDA-BJP’s “corruption, commission and conspiracy” oriented approach towards defence deals.
The lower court verdict, he alleged, has established the structure of the defence procurement mechanism under the NDA-BJP regime is filled with the “cement of money-making, influencing and bribing rather than being built on the pillars of transparency and compliance of procedures”.
“There exists a culture of influencing, favouring and facilitating defence deals in lieu of receiving bribery and gratification within the NDA-BJP top leadership and decision-makers,” said Shergill.
Jaitly, Major General S P Murugai (retd) and former Samata Party leader Gopal Pacherwal were charge-sheeted after Tehelka magazine aired a sting operation that showed them purportedly accepting bribes from its reporters—posing as representatives of a fictitious company—for supplying orders from the Army for hand-held thermal imagers.
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