‘National security only a slogan for them’: Cong slams Centre over Rafale deal
The Congress party, which has been the strongest critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government over the deal with French manufacturer Dassault Aviation to purchase Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF), said on Sunday that national security is only a slogan for the Centre.
Addressing a press conference, Congress national spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “Post-Independence, all central governments have regarded national security as a serious issue and have refrained from politicising it. The Modi government has too said that national security is paramount and there should be no compromise. However, when it comes to filling the pockets of their industrialist friends, their (Modi government’s) priority for the past seven years is crony capitalism. When it comes to filling their (industrialist friends) pockets, national security becomes a form of sloganeering for them (Centre).”
Noting that France launched an investigation into the Rafale deal to find out if there was corruption, Khera said why the Indian government was still silent "even after 24 hours have passed".
“There has been no response from the Centre till now. What was Rafale? It was an inter-governmental deal. France has launched an investigation. On the other hand, forget about investigation, the Indian government has not even given one comment. And this is the government which is only known for talking. The Prime Minister, defence minister and other members of the Cabinet are silent,” the Congress leader further said, adding the echo of this silence is being heard across the world.
Khera also pointed out that France, who received the money and benefited from the deal, has launched an inquiry but the Indian government, which paid the money and suffered loss, has not done anything yet.
He presented certain documents and said the amount decided for the deal by Indian negotiators massively spiked and also alleged the corruption clause mysteriously disappeared.
Khera’s comments on Sunday came just a day after the Congress party demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the deal on Saturday. It said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should order the probe and also come clean on the deal.
The French national financial prosecutor on Saturday announced that a judge has been appointed to investigate suspicions of corruption in the Rafale, according to French investigative website Mediapart.
“A judicial probe into suspected corruption has been opened in France over the 7.8-billion-euro sale to India in 2016 of 36 Dassault-built Rafale fighter aircraft,” Mediapart said, adding the probe has been initiated by the national financial prosecutors’ office.