Cong, BJP trade charges over de­fence deals

Business Standard - - ECONOMY - ARCHIS MO­HAN

The Con­gress on Tues­day al­leged that “a huge scam was brew­ing” in the pro­cure­ment of the Das­sault Rafale fighter jets for the In­dian Air Force.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dis­missed the allegations. It said the Con­gress was scared at the prospect of its top lead­ers be­ing ques­tioned in the Agusta West­land he­li­copter “bribery scan­dal” soon and had raked up the Rafale deal as a “smoke­screen”.

Con­gress spokesper­son Ran­deep Singh Sur­je­w­ala said the arms deal to pur­chase 36 Rafale fighter air­craft from French air­craft man­u­fac­turer Das­sault was set to cause “in­sur­mount­able loss to the pub­lic ex­che­quer”. He said the arms deal smacked of “non-trans­parency and fla­grant vi­o­la­tion of manda­tory pro­vi­sions of the De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure”.

The Con­gress leader de­manded the Cen­tre break its “con­spir­a­to­rial si­lence” to clar­ify the “grave ap­pre­hen­sions” on the deal. He said the Cen­tre rene­go­ti­ated the deal in 2015, orig­i­nally signed by the United Pro­gres­sive Al­liance (UPA)-II govern­ment, and sac­ri­ficed na­tional in­ter­est on “trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy” from Das­sault to Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Limited.

BJP spokesper­son GVL Narasimha Rao said the Con­gress was ner­vous af­ter the ar­rest of Carle Gerosa, a mid­dle­man in the Agusta West­land deal, in Italy and his likely ex­tra­di­tion to India soon. “The Con­gress has made base­less allegations on the Rafale deal to di­vert pub­lic at­ten­tion and to cry po­lit­i­cal vendetta. But these stunts will not work and they should be ready to an­swer ques­tions on the Agusta West­land deal now that the money trail is go­ing to get known,” Rao said.


Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi at the 15th Asean-India Sum­mit in Manila on Tues­day. The BJP in New Delhi dis­missed Con­gress’ allegations that ‘a huge scam was brew­ing’ in the pro­cure­ment of the Das­sault Rafale fighter jets

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