Rafale cover-up bid exposed, Modi govt must explain inaction: Congress

Rafale cover-up bid exposed, Modi govt must explain inaction: Congress thumbnail

The Congress on Monday asked why the Modi regime chose not to investigate middleman Sushen Gupta in the Rafale deal despite seizing classified documents from him. Congress seized the latest French media expose to allege ‘cover up of corruption’ in the fighter jet deal. Congress also countered BJP’s allegation that Dassault paid Gupta during UPA government’s tenure by arguing similar payments were made during the tenure of the Vajpayee regime too.

“Operation cover-up by the Modi government to bury the melting pot of corruption, kickbacks and collusion in the Rafale deal is once again exposed… The BJP government undermined national security, jeopardised interests of the Indian Air Force and caused loss worth thousands of crores to our exchequer,” AICC spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged at the official party briefing in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Khera asked the Modi regime if it was not correct that the ED had seized from Gupta secret government documents on Rafale – including the benchmark price document of August 10, 2015, record of discussions by defence ministry’s negotiating team, the ExcelSheet on calculations made by defence ministry and Eurofighter’s counter offer of 20% discount to the Government of India – during a raid conducted on March 26, 2019.

Khera alleged Gupta assured Dassault to hold “talks with the political high command” of the new government. “Why did ED not use the evidence to further investigate the scam? Why did the Modi government not take action against Dassault, the political executive or the defence ministry officers who leaked the documents? Which chowkidar sold India’s national secrets?”

Khera said defence middlemen were ‘regime agnostic’: “Sushen Gupta, the middleman was hired by Dassault in the year 2000. Whose government was then in power? Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s. These are just facts; I am not accusing anyone of anything. In January 2004, two million euros were given to Gupta (by Dassault). Whose government was in power? Vajpayee’s. Again ₹900,000 were transferred to his company between 2002 and 2004. Whose government was then in power? Vajpayee’s. All that I am trying to say is defence dealers and middlemen are regime agnostic.”

The AICC spokesperson argued what mattered was the fact it was during the Modi regime the Rafale deal was clinched by diluting UPA government’s negotiating terms, including pricing, technology transfer and anti-corruption clause. “The deal was fructified under Modi. ED seized the documents from the premises of Sushen Gupta with details and dates of internal negotiations including price-sensitive information which the BJP is now trying to ignore.”

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