Congress MP Shashi Tharoor Wednesday said the Rafale issue is 20 times bigger than the Bofors issue but the media is “not giving any importance like before”. He said the media in the late 1980s continuously pursued the Bofors issue, and it essentially tarnished the image of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and led to the Congress’ defeat in the election of 1989. Tharoor said, “In the 1980s, there was not a single day the media did not chase the Bofors issue. Day after day, investigative reporters were sent around the world to find out what happened.”
“Today, we have a scam that is 20 times as big in terms of money involved – that is the Rafale scam. Do you see the media giving any importance like before… Not at all,” he said
“Nobody has the courage to investigate the Rafale issue and there is no media investigation into such a major scam. This is truly disappointing,” Tharoor said.
The opposition led by the Congress has been accusing the government of benefitting Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Ltd. from the Rafale deal. However, the BJP and Reliance Defence have dismissed all the allegations as false.
The Rafale controversy took a new turn last month after Francois Hollande, who was French president when the Rs 58,000 crore deal was announced, was quoted as saying by French publication Mediapart that France was given “no choice” on the selection of the Indian partner for Dassault, the manufacturer of Rafale jets.
Quoting reports, Tharoor said India was ranked 136th in terms of “freedom of the press” below Afghanistan and “most of the mainstream media houses are owned by businessmen”.