Press Trust of india

Fresh documents reveal ‘murky dealings’ in Rafale deal, time for PM to speak: Cong

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New Delhi, Oct 17 :  The Congress Wednesday alleged that fresh documents in the Rafale deal reveal that Prime Minister Narendra Modi facilitated the contract between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence and said it is time he broke his silence on the issue.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Rafale scam is getting “murkier and muddier” by the day as fresh documents have reinforced that prime minister Modi “facilitated a sweetheart deal” with Dassault to “illegitimately” benefit a crony friend – Reliance Defence.

“Undisputed evidence now corroborates, brazen ‘crony capitalism’ and ‘quid pro quo’ by the Modi government in the multi- crore Rafale scam. Time for prime minister Modi to break his silence,” he told reporters here.

He said the lid of the Modi government’s “murky sweetheart deal in the Rafale scam is now off” and asked whether Modi was prime minister of India or of Anil Ambani.

“The simple question that Modiji needs to answer is ‘Are you PM of India or PM of Anil Ambani’? Are you ‘chowkidaar’ of India or are you the ‘chowkidaar’ (watchman) of business interests of Reliance group of Anil Ambani,” he asked.

Surjewala also asked who was brokering this deal bypassing the lone public sector company which has 60 years of expertise in manufacturing defence aircraft.

The Congress leader alleged the new set of documents reveal the truth of Rs 30,000 crore “offset contract” and a Rs 1,00,000 crore “life cycle cost contract” to Reliance Defence establishes that the deal was a “compensation’ brokered by Modi government” and states that it was “it was imperative and mandatory for Dassault-Aviation to accept this counterpart”.

It also strongly underlines the charge of French ex-president Francois Hollande about Modi securing a deal for Ambani, he claimed.

“The BJP which is running helter-skelter and throwing all kinds of inconsumable alibis to defend the indefensible will have to be made accountable on the ‘biggest defence scam’ that has hit the country,” Surjewala said.

He said French labour laws make it compulsory for companies with over 50 employees to set up a ‘Central Works Council’ (CCE), which is on the same lines as trade unions and have a role in financial management of the company as well as in social and cultural activities of employees.

The “minutes of the meeting held on May 11, 2017 between two such trade unions and Dassault Aviation’s COO Loik Segalen lift the lid off the murky sweetheart deal of Rs 30,000 crore” and according to minutes of the meeting with CGT, “Segalen is quoted as saying that ‘it was imperative and mandatory for Dassault-Aviation to accept this counterpart in order to obtain the export contract Rafale India’,” he said.

The minutes of the meeting with another trade union CFDT, state that “this is the inevitable consequence of the Rafale India contract which required making ‘Make in India’ to be signed, he said.

Surjewala claimed this is the third confirmation after Hollande had clearly told a French outlet about Modi securing the deal for Reliance Defence.

The Congress leader asked if the BJP’s and a slew of ministers’ claim that Dassault Aviation was free to choose its offset partner, “why is it that Mr Segalen, the 2nd in command of Dassault state that ‘it was imperative and mandatory for Dassault Aviation to accept this counterpart in order to obtain the RAFALE India export contract’?”

He also asked if Dassault Aviation willingly agreed to partner with Reliance Defence, why was it called an inevitable compensation? “Was it not deliberate squandering of HAL’s interests,” he asked.

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