New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led Central government of “misleading” the Supreme Court over Rafale fighter jets deal and said “after the party returns to power on May 23”, it will order a JPC probe into it. Insisting that investigation is required to book “the real culprits” in “the scam” related to its procurement of fighter jets, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe is the only solution to identify “the real culprits”.
“After May 23, 2019, when the Congress will come to power, we shall order a JPC investigation into the Rafale scam,” he said. Singhvi said there are three sets of documents, which the Modi government wanted to hide from the apex court. “Modi government has made lies, falsehood, deceit, treachery and fakery the foundation of its defence in the Rafale scam,” he said in a statement.
The first document he said was about the parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal. “On November 24, 2015, Defence Secretary wrote to then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar stating that PMO be advised to not conduct parallel negotiations on Rafale deal as this compromises and undermines the Indian Negotiations Team (INT),” he said. “It is clear that PM Modi lied to the Supreme Court also and misled it. In the affidavit before Supreme Court…Modi ji said that negotiations on Rafale Deal were held by the INT. Defence Ministry file notings now show otherwise. Parallel negotiations were actually held by PM Modi himself. This fact was deliberately withheld from the Supreme Court.”
The second document is about National Security Advisor Ajit Doval negotiating the Rafale deal, and not the “Negotiations Committee” of the Indian Air Force and the Defence Ministry. The third document is the dissent note of the INT that records objections of its three members on various aspects of the deal. “Modi government mischievously lied to the Supreme Court when they said that the CAG report on Rafale’s pricing had been made public and examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), a statement that was denied swiftly by PAC Chairman Mallikarjun Kharge,” he said.
“In the light of the above documentary evidence, it is crystal clear that set procedures were not been followed in the Rafale deal and ‘crony capitalism’ become the backbone of this scam.” The Supreme Court had on Wednesday rejected the preliminary objections raised by the Central government and as a result, will hear the Rafale review petitions on merits. The court will also look into the published documents. The court rejected the Centre’s claim of privilege over the three documents that were filed by former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, journalist Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan along with their plea.