The Congress today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of indulging in “political corruption” in the Rafale aircraft deal, saying he was guilty of violating the defence acquisition procedures. “I charge the PM with political corruption. This is political corruption, it is not promoting crony capitalism. This is political corruption. What we will call it?” Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said. On the government’s assertion that it cannot reveal the details of the deal because it was “secret”, Sharma said: “We reject that premise itself, go by facts and record.” He said when the Congress was in power at the Centre, when information was sought even for defence projects where no global tenders were there, “we provided the same”. In this case, he said there was a global tender and prior to that it was an RFP and there were five responses. “You cannot hide this information from Parliament,” he said, adding the Congress has not sought specifications of radars or missiles and had asked only about the details of finances, how come there is a 300 per cent increase in the cost.
He asked how in 2017 Qatar bought the fighters for almost Rs 800 crore less than what India signed for in 2015. “The prime minister is also directly guilty of violating the defence acquisition procedures. There was no discussion in the Cabinet Committee on Security to resign the earlier global tender and the contract,” he said, alleging that it was a post-facto CCS approval after his return from Paris.
“So what the government is saying is an apology of defence. What is indefensible will be questioned,” he said. The Congress has claimed that there is a huge scam in the NDA government’s procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, a charge the government has denied.