Press Trust of india

SC order on Rafale blows the lid off Modi's 'lies': Congress

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New Delhi, Apr 10 :  The Congress on Wednesday said the Supreme Court's interim order has blown the lid off the "lies" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal, and termed it as the first step towards justice with the last being a joint parliamentary committee probe.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the layers of corruption in the Rafale fighter aircraft deal are now out in the open and that justice will be done as the prime minister can no longer hide behind the veil of "official secrets act".

The Supreme Court allowed "leaked" documents to be relied upon by petitioners seeking review of its Rafale judgement and dismissed the government's preliminary objections claiming "privilege" over them.

"The layers of corruption in the Rafale scam are now out in the open. The entire structure of lies built by Prime Minister is in tatters. Prime Minister Modi used to hide behind a self-pronounced clean chit by the Supreme Court.

"But, today the Supreme Court has demolished that lie of clean chit of the prime minister also. To hide the lies of Rafale, Modi-ji spoke a hundred lies, but, truth has finally caught up with him and the truth is that 'chowkidar chor hai'," he told reporters.

Addressing a press conference, he said the source of the document will not be seen and the evidentiary value of the document will be seen.

"The evidentiary value of the document is that there is blatant theft, blatant violation of procedure, blatant corruption and compromising national interest in the entire Rafale deal, something that the prime minister sought to hide and now that clean chit has been blown away.

"The Supreme Court has taken the first step. First step in the justice towards Rafale and a Joint Parliamentary Committee would be the final step. It is now clear that the first step of justice has been taken and now justice will be done," he said.

He said these documents prove corruption, violation of procedures and that Modi himself was negotiating the deal which compromised national security and caused loss to exchequer. " I think that's a great victory as a first step to justice," Surjewala said.

He said the government and the prime minister hid crucial facts and evidence from the Supreme Court, including the price of the aircraft that was increased from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1,600 crore and refused to tell the price to the Supreme Court on the so called ground of breach of national security.

He alleged Modi was directly negotiating the price bypassing the Indian negotiation team was another fact that was hidden from the Supreme Court.

The government also hid from the Supreme Court the fact that Modi himself superseded the written opinion of the Indian negotiation team, defence and law ministries pertaining to securing a sovereign or bank guarantee from the French government as also Dassault Aviation, he alleged.

This, he said, resultantly benefitted Dassault Aviation and made it richer by a few hundred crores as noted by the CAG also.

The Congress leader alleged that Modi government hid from the Supreme Court that it allegedly paid Rs 208 crore per plane more for India specific enhancements as compared to a deal negotiated by the erstwhile UPA dispensation.

"Modi Government hid from the Supreme Court that Prime Minister and his cronies surreptitiously did away with the clause on corruption and punishing Dassault Aviation, if any proof of corruption was found later," he alleged.

"When all the papers of Indian Negotiation Team, the corruption of the Prime Minister, the malfeasance and the fraud played upon exchequer came out in the open, instead of conceding that now a Joint Parliamentary Committee is the only way forward, the Prime Minister threatened journalists with arrest and criminal cases by citing the Official Secrets Act before the Supreme Court," he said.

"Modiji, you can run and lie as much as you want but sooner or later the truth comes out. The skeletons in Rafale scam are tumbling out one by one. And now there is 'no official secrets act' to hide behind," Surjewala said.

"SC has upheld a time honoured legal principle; A rattled Modiji had threatened to invoke Official Secrets Act against independent journalists for exposing his corruption on Rafale. Don't worry Modiji, an investigation is going to take place now, whether you like it or not," he said in a series of tweets.

The Centre had submitted that the documents were procured by petitioners in an illegal way and used to support their review petitions against the December 14, 2018 judgement of the apex court dismissing all pleas challenging procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

 

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