New Delhi: The Rafale deal is unravelling faster than the government thought, Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said after The Hindu came out with its latest disclosures. “No sovereign guarantee, no bank guarantee, no escrow account, yet a huge amount was paid as advance. No penalty clause for undue influence, no clause against agency commission, no clause for access to suppliers’ accounts and Dassault goes laughing all the way to the bank,” he tweeted.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly waiving anti-corruption clauses in the Rafale deal and alleged that he had “opened the door” to allow Anil Ambani to “steal” Rs 30,000 crore from the Air Force. The government, as well as Ambani, have strongly refuted allegations of any wrongdoing in the fighter jet agreement with France.
Last week, the Congress president had demanded answers to questions raised by another report in the newspaper that the PMO had conducted parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal. BSP chief Mayawati also lost no time in latching onto the report in The Hindu. “Corruption, honesty, national interest and national security etc. Everything can be compromised and ignored for the sake of Chowkidar,” she said.
“No problem! Chowkidar is important for the BJP/RSS, not his honesty?” she asked on Twitter, referring to the prime minister as watchman, an epithet often used by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to describe Modi. Quoting newspaper reports, CPM in a Politburo statement said that not only was the Prime Minister’s Office conducting parallel negotiations, it also “batted” for no guarantees.
“The PMO was conducting parallel investigation keeping the official negotiating team in the dark. The PMO refused the suggestion of an escrow account. Not only was there no sovereign guarantee from the French government but it now appears that the PMO also batted for no bank guarantees.
All this to facilitate the loot of the Indian exchequer by the Prime Ministers crony capitalist friend,” the party alleged. Demanding that the Supreme Court revisit its earlier ruling in the case, the Left party said the only way to get to the bottom of the “scam” was a high level probe.