New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have been “number one accused” in the Rafale issue had the Lokpal law been implemented, the Congress on Monday claimed as the opposition targeted the government in Lok Sabha on the fighter jet deal. If anybody has to be held guilty in Rafale deal, “it is the PM and PM alone”, Congress leader Veerappa Moily said launching a scathing attack on Modi and the Union government during a discussion on the interim budget.
Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) Saugata Roy claimed the Rafale issue has “exposed the chinks” in the government’s armour. It has proved the government is no longer incorruptible, he said. Citing recent critical media reports on the fighter aircraft deal, Moily alleged that the Rafale issue has become a “household scandal” and that Modi may “escape” his responsibility today but not in the days to come. While the defence budget saw only a paltry increase in absolute terms and the allocation to the sector as percentage of the GDP has gone down, he alleged the ruling BJP is using money to “buy” MLAs, build “palatial” offices and filling its coffers.
On the Rafale deal, in which the Congress has accused the government of corruption, Moily said, “Now it is crystal clear why Lokpal (law) is not being implemented. If it had been in place, the PM would be number one accused.” He was referring to the law on setting up anti-corruption ombudsman. Due to this “guilty conscience”, the Union government has been using investigative agencies against its rivals, he alleged.
In an apparent reference to Modi’s comments about his “56 -inch chest”, Moily said, “When bullet of corruption is hit, his broad shoulders cannot bear it.” Modi had earlier hit out the Congress over the Rafale issue, saying the party did not want the country’s armed forces to be strengthened, and had asked if it was bidding for any private player. During his reply to the discussion on motion of thanks on the President’s address, the Prime Minister had alleged that no defence deal during the Congress rule was without kickbacks.