Modi-led BJP government has always attacked the previous UPA government for its corruption and scams in the past. However, the Modi government that came into power in 2014 with a mantra of a corrupt-free nation and clean governance, seems to be not keeping its promises as the Rafale deal scam is getting bigger day by day after the ruckus created by the Congress in the Lok Sabha during the no-confidence motion.
Shiv Sena legislator Manisha Kayande asserted, “Even after several allegations, the ruling government is not giving satisfactory answers in the Parliament. According to me, PM is neglecting this subject. Reliance is getting favour from the government. The opposition can capitalise this issue for the upcoming election but to what extent we don’t know. People saw that somewhere down the line corruption is prevalent in BJP’s reign. The details of the deal within the public domain should be disclosed.”
Dubbing the Rafale deal “corruption of the century”, Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his Lok Sabha speech slammed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he came to power on the claim that he would wipe out corruption in the country and provide a very clean government. But the Rafale scam, involving a whopping amount of over Rs 1.3 lakh crore of public money, “designed to bail out debt-ridden corporate cronies of Modi is a symbol of the true ‘sanskar’ of this government. Gandhi had earlier, too, taken a swipe at Modi, saying his “minions” were threatening journalists not to report on the Rafale Scam.
Maj Gen (R) AJB Jaini explained, “We as an Army used to provide only QR (qualitative requirement) but the acquisition of equipment is made by the Defence Ministry and the government authorities. Even if such deal happens secrecy is maintained pertaining to its technicalities of the aircraft. But the taxpayers are entitled to know the exact amount of the aircrafts purchased. Purchases are done by the defence acquisition committee. I do not know if there is any scam involved in this but if there is no fraud involved in the deal then why the government is not revealing the cost and maintaining the secrecy about the deal?”
In a comparison with the Bofors scam that took place during the reign of Congress, Rafale fighter aircraft deal is termed as the biggest defence scam ever, and a scandal much bigger than Bofors. The Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman claimed the allegations as the desperation of the opposition and stated, “There is no Bofors like scam involved here. This is an inter-governmental deal between the two nations.” She also said, “The basic prices of the weaponry have been disclosed, however, since the matter of security is also a matter of secrecy the Ministry has revealed whatever could be disclosed”.
Congress Spokesperson Dr. Raju Waghmare stated, “There is no such secret law for any democratic country in the world to disclose the price, then why BJP and its leaders are mum about this deal? The reason is simple that corruption has been done by the top authority and that’s why they are not talking about it. We are not taking Rafale as an election issue but this deal refers to robbing the taxpayers’ money and such high level and open corruption cannot be tolerable.”
Congress had alleged that Reliance Defence has been benefitted with a contract worth Rs 32,000 crore contract from the Defence Ministry, related to offsets for 36 Rafale aircraft. In a reaction to it, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence had sent a legal notice to various Congress leaders, but they did not respond. Later, Reliance Defence filed a defamation case against those leaders in Ahmedabad Court which raises many eyebrows considering neither Anil Ambani nor his company is located there. Although experts believe that Ambani wants to ensure that nothing is reported that shows the company gets unethical favour from the Modi government and loot the taxpayers with this nexus.
RTI activist Anjali Damania commented, “This deal was already substantiated by Congress earlier. But after BJP came into power, the deal was re-done with a higher purchase price. Reliance Aerostructure company was formed just 10 days prior of announcing the deal and later Reliance was allotted the deal. If Parrikar knows about the deal and is not vocal, then it is a betrayal to the nation, and I would support Congress for their stand. As compromise on the national security will not be tolerated in the country.”
In a recent update of the Rafale scam, the All India Congress Committee spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi accused the former defence minister Manohar Parrikar for remaining silent on this controversial issue despite being aware of the violation by the BJP government, keeping in a view that when the Modi government had signed the Rafale deal in September 2016, while Parrikar served as the Defence Minister, to purchase fighter jets from France.
“These days people start speaking on any issue which is not concerned to them or the nation. Talking about allegations by the Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi on our Minister, no one is bothered nor anyone is going to believe on such allegations as no such scam exist. There are 71 people involved in so-called scam then why they are targeting one particular person? If opposition parties find anything wrong in Rafale deal then they can approach Supreme Court,” Goa BJP spokesperson Dattaprasad Naik expresses his distress.
Now with the nearing of the 2019 elections, Modi who had promised four years ago, for a clean governance and a corrupt-free nation, is caught in a biggest controversy so far on the par with UPA government’s Bofors scam and 2G scam, it would be a huge led down towards the voters on Modi’s part if they fail to prove their stand. Would it be wrong to say that both the UPA and the NDA government are two peas in a pod?