The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, citing a report from a French online publication, accused the former Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of anomalies in the Rafale fighter planes purchase, igniting a new war of words between the ruling and opposition parties.

The journal Mediapart released suspected fraudulent invoices for payments made between 2004 and 2013, alleging that they allowed Dassault Aviation, a French aircraft manufacturer, to pay at least €7.5 million in kickbacks to an intermediary to assist it clinch the agreement. The UPA was in power at the time, and the agreement mentioned is the one inked by the previous administration with Dassault.

“According to the documents, Dassault, often known as D, paid a middleman €7.5 million ($65 crore) as a commission for 36 Rafale aircraft. This occurred between 2007 and 2012, according to BJP spokesman Sambit Patra. Sushen Gupta, the suspected intermediary in the sale, was also involved in the AugustaWestland contract for VVIP choppers, he said. “It’s too much of a coincidence, and a conspiracy is too much of a coincidence.”

Patra slammed the Congress for “misleading” the country ahead of the 2019 national elections by alleging that the BJP was to blame for the deal’s faults. “INC (Indian National Congress) means I’m looking for a job… There was a deal within a deal during the UPA’s term.”

Pawan Khera, a spokesman for the Congress, retorted that the government was engaged in a “operation cover-up” to hide the deal’s corruption, kickbacks, and collaboration. The “Rafale scam,” he said, was the greatest in the history of independent India. The government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Enforcement Directorate, according to Khera, have a “dubious link” (ED).

Despite being informed of the availability of documents in 2018, when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance was in office, Indian officials decided not to pursue the case, according to Mediapart. It also mentions offshore firms, shady contracts, and forged invoices. Since October 2018, CBI and ED detectives have acquired proof that Dassault paid commissions to Gupta, according to Mediapart.

The deal’s anti-corruption elements were dropped, according to Khera. He accused the government of jeopardising national security, endangering the interests of the military services, and producing a massive budget deficit. Why was there no probe against Gupta, Khera wondered.

According to Patra, the Congress and, in particular, Rahul Gandhi, should explain the alleged anomalies that occurred while the UPA was in office. “The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been without fighter aircraft for ten years. There were talks that didn’t go anywhere…now we know the talks were about the commission, not the plane.”

The then-Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar argued that the UPA contract made in 2012 was not a viable one, suggesting that it would never have been finalised and therefore that any comparison with the current arrangement was pointless. The UPA was unable to complete the contract until 2014, owing to disagreements over the cost of products that were not included in the initial proposal.

Patra cited the Supreme Court’s 2019 ruling that the current contract is legal, as well as the government’s auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s determination that India did not overpay for the jets the same year.

If the Congress believes the BJP administration is not probing the scandals, Patra believes it should take the matter to court. “(It should) inquire as to why (the government) is not doing investigations into the Gandhi family…,” he added in response to a question on why the probe was not being conducted. “…They’re teasing us, and anytime an investigation was conducted, they shouted vendetta.”

Patra said he doesn’t know the contents of the probe being conducted into Gupta’s inaction. He further stated that he has learned from media sources that Gupta is being investigated by the ED.

The Shining Media

The Shining Media is an independent news website and channel, covering updates from the world of Politics, Entertainment, Sports, International, National, and a lot more.

By The Shining Media

The Shining Media is an independent news website and channel, covering updates from the world of Politics, Entertainment, Sports, International, National, and a lot more.

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