Rafale the largest de­fence scam, says Bhushan; files plaint with CBI

The Free Press Journal - - MUMBAI -

Call­ing the Rafale deal the "largest de­fence scam" in the coun­try, Ad­vo­cate Prashant Bhushan said Satur­day that the he hoped that the Cen­tral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) will act upon the com­plaint made by him and two oth­ers against Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and oth­ers in the case, and reg­is­ter a Pre­lim­i­nary En­quiry, or an FIR.

Bhushan said that if the CBI failed to fol­low due process, he will then take the case to court.

He was speak­ing at an event or­gan­ised by the Mum­bai Press Club.

Re­spond­ing to ques­tions on whether the present day Rafale deal was a case sim­i­lar to the Bo­fors scam of the 1980s, Bhushan said that Rafale was a much more se­ri­ous, and greater cause of con­cern.

"This (Rafale) isn't merely a mat­ter of se­cur­ing com­mis­sion for a par­tic­u­lar com­pany, as was the case in Bo­fors. This is the largest de­fence scam that the coun­try has seen and a breach of our na­tional se­cu­rity," Bhushan said. "To be­gin with, it deals with much more money. It left the In­dian Air Force high and dry, and by se­cur­ing off­set con­tracts for Anil Am­bani's new com­pany that has no ex­pe­ri­ence in build­ing fighter air crafts, it also puts our na­tional se­cu­rity at risk," he said.

On Oc­to­ber 4 this year, Bhushan, former BJP min­is­ter Yash­want Sinha, and se­nior jour­nal­ist Arun Shourie sub­mit­ted a writ­ten com­plaint to the CBI. The com­plaint names Prime Min­is­ter Modi and former de­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar. It urges the CBI to reg­is­ter a PE for an FIR against them on var­i­ous charges un­der the Preven­tion of Cor­rup­tion Act for a range of al­leged of­fences com­mit­ted in April 2015 in the course of pur­chas­ing 36 air­crafts from France based Das­sault Avi­a­tion.

In the com­plaint, Bhushan and the oth­ers have ques­tioned how Anil Am­bani’s Re­liance De­fence, the In­dian off­set part­ner of Das­sault Avi­a­tion, could be in­volved in the deal as it has no prior ex­pe­ri­ence in the field and Am­bani's most other com­pa­nies "were in debt."

"We are yet to hear from the CBI. If due process is fol­lowed, CBI should reg­is­ter an FIR based on the com­plaint. How­ever, if that doesn't hap­pen then we'll take the mat­ter to court," Bhushan said.

In Septem­ber 2016, In­dia signed an in­ter-gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment with France in to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets, at an es­ti­mated cost of "ru­pees 60,000 crore."

“Rafale scam deals with much more money. It left the In­dian Air Force high and dry, and by se­cur­ing off­set con­tracts for Anil Am­bani's new com­pany that has no ex­pe­ri­ence in build­ing fighter air crafts, it also puts our na­tional se­cu­rity at risk”

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