RAISING THE pitch on the Rafale deal, the Congress on Monday said reports that provisions for anti-corruption penalties were dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement between India and France showed that there was corruption and “somebody has paid somebody”.
On Monday, The Hindu reported that the deal between India and France involved “major and unprecedented concessions from the Indian government, with critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement”.
“Why would the NDA-BJP government waive the anti-corruption clauses in the Rafale deal. The answer is very simple: because there has been corruption in the Rafale deal,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
“…It is revealed that crucial changes were made to the clauses in the standard Defence Procurement Procedure. No sovereign guarantee, no bank guarantee, no escrow account, yet a huge amount was paid as advance. No penalty clause for undue influence, no clause against agency commission, no clause for access to suppliers’ accounts and Dassault goes laughing all the way to the bank,” senior Congress leader P Chidambaram tweeted.
“On August 24, 2016, the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by Prime Minister approves the inter governmental agreement. In September 2016, the Defence Acquisition Council overrides the CCS, something which is unprecedented in itself, and amends eight vital clauses of the Rafale fighter deal. Among those clauses is the dropping of the mandatory anti-corruption articles that are an integral part of the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2013, under which this particular agreement was signed. And on October 23, 2016, the contract between India and France gets signed,” said Tewari.
“So the moot question is what happened between August 24, 2016 and September 23, 2016? What transpired in those 30 days? Who paid whom in those 30 days that led to the dropping of the anti-corruption clauses from the Rafale agreement,” he said.
The CPM, meanwhile, said the waivers and dropping of clauses were to facilitate the loot of the exchequer. “Clearly, the Supreme Court had not been furnished with the full information regarding this deal by the Modi government. In this background, it may be in order for the Supreme Court to suo motu revisit its earlier ruling. The CAG, who is supposed to present a report on Rafale deal, suffers from a conflict of interest as he was the finance secretary when this deal was inked. The credibility of CAG report is hence severely compromised,” the party politburo said in a statement.
‘PM No. 1 Accused’
New Delhi: Former Union Minister and senior Congress member Veerappa Moily said in Lok Sabha on Monday that PM Narendra Modi would have been “No. 1 Accused” in the Rafale issue if the Lokpal law been implemented. Participating in the discussion on the Budget, he said: “Now it is crystal clear, because if that (Lokpal law) was to be implemented, perhaps the present PM would have been the No.1 Accused in that case. That is why he is afraid. That is why there is no JPC also.”
“Today, he can escape, but I do not think that tomorrow, in the days to come, he can escape. To get over this kind of guilty conscience, he is trying to put ED cases and CBI cases against everyone,” said Moily.