Former BJP Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, along with eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan moved the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on October 4. They demanded an FIR to be registered against PM Modi and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in the matters of Rafale deal under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
They have alleged that PM Modi “abused his office and performed his public duty improperly and with dishonesty”. The trio has also demanded an FIR against Reliance Defence Limited owner Anil Ambani for allegedly conspiring with PM Modi. And also against Dassault Aviation and its CEO Eric Trappier for abetment of the said offences.
“Conspiracy hatched by PM Modi”
The trio has alleged that a conspiracy was hatched by PM Modi and Anil Ambani to bail Ambani’s companies which were at the verge of insolvency. They said in their complaint, “The ‘undue advantage’ has been received by his close associate and friend Mr Ambani. As a consideration for abusing his official authority and doing his public duty dishonestly, Mr Modi compelled Dassault to choose Mr Ambani as an offset partner, by way of which Mr Ambani received, and is receiving, and will continue to receive, for the next 40 years, an ‘undue advantage’.”
Make In India?
They further alleged that until 15 days before the new deal was signed on April 10, 2015, Dassault Aviation was in final stages of negotiation with India for 126 aircraft in which HAL was to be its Indian counterpart under “Make In India”. Also, on March 28, 2015, just 12 days before the new deal was struck, Anil Ambani incorporated Reliance Defence Ltd.
It has also been alleged that before finalising the new deal, everybody, from Indian Air Force, HAL to the Foreign Ministry and Defence Ministry were kept in dark.
Now, under the new deal with Reliance Defence as the offset partner, 36 aircraft are to be sourced from Dassault Aviation in fly-away condition. This is different from the earlier deal where there was a transfer of technology was to take place boosting the “Make In India” initiative.
“New deal initiated without following the mandatory process”
In defence deals like these, an Acceptance of Necessity (AON) is given after IAF has gone through the tender process. After this, the categorisation committee recommends the mode of procurement.
However, the trio has alleged that PM Modi used his authority to get approval from the Defence Acquisition Council(DAC). Now, as an accepted practice DAC gives its approval to specifications and requirements in the Services Qualitative Requirements (SQR) which originates from the IAF headquarters only. DAC has no authority to give approval in the form of AON to any proposal that doesn’t follow this provision. But reportedly all these steps trespassed in order to give approval to the new deal in an alleged illegal and arbitrary manner.
In their complaint, the trio further adds that to serve the personal interest of an individual the price of the Rafale deal has been escalated by a huge margin. They also allege that since the amount of offset obligations is directly proportional to the cost of procurement, the offset benefits that Anil Ambani’s company will be receiving would be at the cost of the public exchequer.
August Press Conference
On August 8, activist and advocate Prashant Bhushan along with former BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie held a press conference. In this press conference, they spoke about the Rafale deal, calling it the “biggest defence scam ever”.
They had alleged that not only has this deal caused a huge loss to the exchequer, but it has also, in fact, may have compromised national security. Calling it the biggest defence scam, they then said that its unfolding bore a similarity to the Bofors scam in the 1980s in which the then UPA-government, in a similar way tried to hide facts behind the veil of confidentiality.
Source: The Logical Indian
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