A day after the Congress demanded a JPC probe into the Rafale deal, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday put out an online survey asking why the Modi government was not ready for it. Among the choices given by Gandhi to the question were guilt conscience, saving friends, JPC does not want a Rajya Sabha seat and all the above.
“Why is the Modi government not ready for a JPC probe? — guilt conscience, saving the friends, JPC does not want a Rajya Sabha seat and all of these are right,” he said in Hindi on Twitter, while putting out the survey. Gandhi has been alleging corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal for long now and had made this as a major poll plank in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which the Congress lost badly.
The Congress on Sunday questioned the silence of the government after French authorities ordered a probe into “corruption and favouritism” in the Rafale deal. Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera sought to know that in an inter-governmental defence deal, where there cannot be any middlemen or corruption, when the beneficiary of any “corruption” has ordered a probe, why has a country, which has lost public money, not ordered one? He alleged that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a lot of noise about national security, but undermines the country’s security interests when it comes to helping its crony capitalist friends.
“After more than 24 hours of the decision by France to investigate corruption, influence peddling, money laundering, favouritism, there is one question every responsible Indian, every concerned citizen asks. Why is the Government of India still silent?” Khera asked at a press conference. He said the Rafale fighter jets deal was an inter-government deal between India and France, which means that the governments of the two countries were on either side.
Khera sought to know that now that the French Public Prosecution Services (PNF) has initiated a probe into the corruption allegations against the previous president of France, who was one of the parties to the deal, why is no enquiry being ordered on the role of the key functionaries of the Indian government? “It is downright insulting to the people of India that this government and its ministers have stayed tight-lipped about this entire scandal. Why is the Minister of Defence silent on accountability and scrutiny?” he asked. “The Indian National Congress demands that a fair Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) be constituted immediately and every aspect of the Rafale deal probed by it. The people of India deserve to know the truth,” Khera said.
He said every government has always prioritised and taken pride in the country’s national security policy. Although the Modi government makes “loud song and dance” about national security, “it does everything under the sun to undermine India’s security interests when it comes to filling the coffers of its corporate friends”, the Congress leader alleged.
He asked why the person who caused a loss to the Indian exchequer is not being investigated. Khera said it is abundantly clear that this is not a loss to France, but to India.
“It is not France that has been cheated or robbed, rather it is every single Indian taxpayer who has been cheated and robbed off,” he said.