09 April 2019
New Delhi: Calling Rafale fighter jet deal the biggest defence "corruption" since Independence, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an open debate on the issue.
"Dear PM, scared of debating me on corruption? I can make it easier for you. Let's go open book, so you can prepare," Gandhi tweeted.
His remarks came following Modi's recently interview to a television in which he spoke on the Rafale deal.
A Congress statement also followed Gandhi's tweet, saying that Modi should accept the party President's challenge.
"Modiji who screams and scrams on the issue of corruption must open his mouth on the 'Loot and Scoot' of 28 economic offenders like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya, Jatin Mehta among others who looted Rs 1 lakh crore from our banks. Modiji must tell who in his PMO was ‘managing the money collections' during demonetisation as shown in the video sting today," the statement said.
In election season, Modi can brazenly use government agencies as "political allies" to target opponents but cannot run away from his role in the Rafale scam, the Congress said. "Brand new evidences of "subverting procedures", "naked crony capitalism", "compromising national interests", "gross impropriety" and "colossal corruption" have once again been exposed in the Rafale scam."
The Congress further said on April 10, 2015, a joint statement was signed by Modi and French President Hollande in France which reduced the original 126 aircrafts deal to just 36 aircraft deal.
On August 5, 2015, the party said, Modi government "mischievously" amended the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2013 (formulated by Congress-UPA), to give huge leeway to Dassault Aviation and its French associate MBDA.
Congress said that the first Rafale aircraft purchased by Modi government doesn't get delivered till September 2019 and all the 36 aircrafts would be delivered to India only by the year 2022, 8.5 years after the placement of order
"The bulk of the offset obligations such as 57 per cent would only be met after 15.5 years (8.5 years for the aircraft to arrive and 7 more years for offset obligations)."