‘Kickbacks’ in defence deal: Congress seeks answers from govt, Left demands Sitharaman’s resignationhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/ukraine-probing-kickbacks-in-defence-deal-congress-seeks-answers-from-govt-left-demands-sitharamans-resignation-5199348/

‘Kickbacks’ in defence deal: Congress seeks answers from govt, Left demands Sitharaman’s resignation

Ukraine’s national anti-corruption bureau has sent a “request for international legal assistance” to the Home Ministry seeking identification of the Defence Ministry officials who participated in the negotiations, development, signing and implementation of the contract.

‘Kickbacks’ in defence deal: Congress seeks answers from govt, Left demands Sitharaman’s resignation
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (Express File Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

The Congress sought immediate action by the government while the Left demanded the resignation of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday over reports of alleged kickbacks to the tune of Rs 17.55 crore in India’s purchase of spares for military transport aircraft An-32.

The parties were reacting to The Indian Express report on Thursday about Ukraine probing alleged kickbacks to the tune of $2.6 million in purchase of spares for military transport aircraft An-32. Ukraine’s national anti-corruption bureau has sent a “request for international legal assistance” to the Home Ministry seeking identification of the Defence Ministry officials who participated in the negotiations, development, signing and implementation of the contract.

“Ministry Of Defence, India (MODI) officials, accused of making millions of $’s in kickbacks via Dubai by Ukrainian Govt. in AN32 deal. Modi ji, as our self proclaimed chokidar, I urge you to take immediate action against your corrupt MODI officials,” Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted using the hashtag “#BJPDefenceScam”.

READ | Ukraine says kickbacks worth Rs 17.5 crore to Ministry of Defence officials, asks for help

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Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the “exposure raises vital questions”.

“Is it a fact that the national anti-corruption bureau of Ukraine had sought legal assistance from Government of India in February?… Is it a fact that the terms of contract have not been fulfilled and yet the Ministry of Defence/Air headquarters signed a statement of completion which facilitated the transfer of alleged illegal gratification,” Tewari asked.

READ | Defence procurement scam: ‘Self-proclaimed chowkidar’ must take immediate action, tweets Rahul Gandhi

“What has been the response so far of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence to the request by Ukraine… has any internal process been initiated by the Ministry of Defence… If this government believes in… ‘na khaunga, na khane dunga’, then why have you been hiding these facts from the people,” Tewari said.

The CPI said it was “shocked to learn that under the so-called corruption-free regime of Narendra Modi government, the Ministry of Defence is being accused of accepting Rs 17.55-crore kickbacks”.

“There is already a big scandal of Rafale deal by the Ministry of Defence, which is pushed under the carpet, in the name of international agreements. In this deal the name of the PM has been mentioned. The Ukraine one is the second serious allegation. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman must resign owning moral responsibility,” the CPI national secretariat said in a statement.