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Sinha, Shourie, Bhushan fire another salvo in Rafale deal

9/11/2018

New Delhi, Alleging that the NDA government, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has compromised India’s security by junking the old Rafale deal of acquiring 126 fighter jets, two former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday charged the Centre with creating an infrastructure for commission payments by bringing private player Reliance Defence Limited in the offset things. The trio said the prime minister’s personal culpability in the Rafale deal cannot be wished away and added that he has violated the due procedure and usurped the authority of Indian Air Force (IAF) headquarters by bringing down the 126 aircrafts to 36. Cancelling the previous deal in which negotiations were on for 7-8 years, the government signed an inter-governmental agreement with France on April 10, 2015 to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore. “As the private party has been brought in at this stage, we can say this with certain concocts that the infrastructure for commission payment has been put in place and they will start pouring as the play starts in. All these should be exposed… But at the moment we only say that the infrastructure has been created otherwise there was no need for a private party to be brought in the offset thing,” Mr Sinha said during a press conference here. Former Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie said, “ The government is hiding behind the veil of secrecy because it knows that in this matter the Prime minister himself is guilty of criminal misconduct as defined in the Prevention of Corruption Act. It becomes clear that the obfuscation of truth and all the lies being told are to protect the prime minister himself.” He added that the government would get caught in its own web of lies but the people and the media would need to keep asking the questions. Mr Bhushan said, “The national security has been compromised by the prime minister and every rule of procurement flouted to unilaterally reduce the number of planes from 126 to 36 and remove Make in India under Transfer of Technology by HAL, despite the fact that the IAF, the ministry and the defence acquisition council had come to a reasoned conclusion that 126 jets were required under Make in India for the long term needs and security of the country.”

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