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BJP misinterpreting SC verdict, no clean chit to govt, says Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee

Mukherjee claimed the apex court didn’t have the authority to summon the Prime Minister or other high functionaries on a sensitive defense deal like Rafale jet purchase, and demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the issue.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
December 21, 2018 7:04:26 pm
BJP misinterpreting SC verdict, no clean chit to govt, says Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee Mukherjee’s press conference is a part of a series of similar events of Congress since last three days where it has tried to refute claims of a jubilant BJP that they were given a “clean chit” by the Supreme Court. (Express Photo)

Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee, who is also the daughter of former President Pranab Mukherjee, Friday said the BJP is trying to mislead the nation by misinterpreting the Supreme Court verdict dismissing petitions to order a  probe into the Rafale deal with Dassault Aviation of France.

She claimed the apex court didn’t have the authority to summon the Prime Minister or other high functionaries on a sensitive defense deal like Rafale jet purchase. The Congress leader also demanded the formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the issue.

In her address at a press conference at Tripura Pradesh Congress Bhawan, Mukherjee said, “Investigating the truth of Rafale deal doesn’t come under the purview of the Supreme Court. Only a Joint Parliamentary Committee can summon the Prime Minister and others to question about Rafale deal. So, a JPC must be formed”.

Mukherjee’s press conference is a part of a series of similar events of Congress since last three days where it has tried to refute claims of a jubilant BJP that they were given a “clean chit” by the Supreme Court.

Sharmistha Mukherjee also said her party is contemplating to lodge a complaint against the central government for allegedly “misleading” and “misinforming” the Supreme Court, on the basis of which it passed its judgment on December 14 saying there is no doubt about the Rafale jet deal.

She flagged 11 points where the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government allegedly “misled” the Supreme Court. These include mention of a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report which the centre claimed to have submitted before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during the apex court hearing on Rafale deal. PAC chairperson and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge later denied receipt of any such report, after which central government filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court saying the CAG report’s mention was a “typographical error”.

Mukherjee today said the Rafale deal is the highest defense scam of India.

“They purchased 36 Rafale jets with Rs. 41,205 crore above the deal finalized by UPA government. We came to know this price from other sources but central government repeatedly declined to divulge deal pricing. Why is the Modi government against forming a Joint Parliamentary Committee?” she asked.

Rafale deal was first fixed by Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in December, 2012. The price of the Rafale jets, which would be inducted into the Indian Air Force, were fixed at Rs. 526.10 crores per aircraft. An international bid was floated for 126 aircrafts at the price. However, after BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in 2014, Prime Minister Modi announced emergency “off the shelf” purchase of 36 Rafale aircrafts in Paris for Rs. 60,145 crores.

Sharmistha Mukherjee is also president of Delhi Mahila Congress and spokesperson of All India Congress Committee.

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