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Rahul hits back at govt on Rafale deal, says Congress will prove the scam

Unfazed by the Supreme Court verdict on the Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi maintained that corruption had taken place in the contract and asserted it will be proved by his party

twitter-logoPTI | December 15, 2018 | Updated 08:22 IST
Rahul hits back at govt on Rafale deal, says Congress will prove the scam

Unfazed by the Supreme Court verdict on the Rafale deal, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Friday maintained that corruption had taken place in the contract which he asserted will be proved by his party and claimed that the basis of the court judgement is a CAG report that has neither been seen by anyone, nor shared with Parliament's Public Accounts Committee.

He also trained his guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he cannot escape action and only two names of Modi and businessman Anil Ambani will come out whenever a JPC probe is conducted into the deal.

Gandhi used the barb of "chowkidaar chor hai" (watchman is a thief) against the prime minister, alleging that "massive corruption" has taken place in the defence contract and that Rs 30,000 crore of farmers has gone to Anil Ambani's Reliance group.

Both the government and Anil Ambani's Reliance Group have rejected Gandhi's allegations of wrongdoing in the defence deal.

Addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters, along with party's top leaders Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram and Mallikarjun Kharge, Gandhi said the Supreme Court in its verdict cited a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the Rafale deal that was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), but he asserted that no such report was given to the House panel headed by Congress' leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge.

Kharge also said that he as chairman of the PAC has not seen any such report of the CAG that the Supreme Court judgement has cited and termed it "strange" as well as "untrue".

"When the CAG does not have the report, how will it come before the PAC. Who gave the report, where is the report. Where did the report come from," he wondered, alleging that "this is far from the truth".

Gandhi said he failed to understand that the basic foundation of the Supreme Court judgement is the report that "no one has seen" and asked the government to show it to them and the PAC chairman.

"I am seriously not able to understand. You are laughing, but I'm not able to understand this. When one speaks a lie somewhere it comes out.

"The government has to make us understand, where is the CAG report. Please show it to us, to the PAC chairman. Or is it with some other PAC that PM Modi has set up in the PMO or some other Parliament in another country, like France. It is possible in today's world under Modi Ji," Gandhi asked in a dig at the government.

He also accused the Modi government of destroying "all institutions" and asserted that corruption has taken place in the Rafale deal under its watch.

"While the Election Commission says something, the Supreme Court says something else and the judges come out and say some other things," he said.

"There is a theft of Rs 30,000 crore and it is farmers' money.. This money is taken by them, everybody in the country knows and understands.

"The 'chowkidaar' has done a theft and we will prove it...People of India know that Prime Minister Modi is a friend of Anil Ambani...The people of India know the truth and they understand the truth.

"Modi ji can run as much he wants, but no one can save him from being caught. The moment there is a probe by the JPC only two names of Anil Ambani and Narendra Modi will come out," he said.

In a relief to the Modi government, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the pleas challenging the deal between India and France for procurement of 36 Rafale jets saying there was no occasion to "really doubt the decision making process" warranting setting aside of the contract.

The apex court rejected the pleas which sought lodging of an FIR and a court-monitored probe alleging irregularities in the Rs 58,000 crore deal, in which both the countries have entered into an inter-governmental agreement (IGA).

It also said that material placed before it shows that Centre did not disclose pricing details in Parliament about the Rafale fighter jet procured through IGA but had shared with Comptroller and Auditor General. It said that CAG report was even examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

"The material placed before us shows that the Government has not disclosed pricing details, other than the basic price of the aircraft, even to Parliament, on the ground that sensitivity of pricing details could affect national security, apart from breaching the agreement between the two countries," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph said.

"Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament," the bench said in its verdict.

At the press conference, Gandhi also said farmers in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh will soon get a loan waiver as promised by the party.

"There has been a theft of Rs 30,000 crore and farmers, remember that in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, your loan is going to be waived.

"This money that has been taken by thieves is your money," he said referring to the Congress' allegation that there was corruption in the Rafale deal.

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