The shady Rafale deal in which PM Narendra Modi is an accused is getting significant international attention.
By Rakesh Raman
While the Rafale deal has already become a hot potato in India, now a French NGO named Sherpa has also desired to know the extent of corruption in the Rafale case.
Sherpa informed Friday that it has filed a complaint with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office to clarify under which conditions 36 fighter aircraft produced by Dassault Aviation were sold to India in 2016 and the choice of its Indian partner, Reliance, a group led by a close partner of the Indian Prime Minister (PM), Narendra Modi.
“This complaint follows the complaint lodged on the 4th of October 2018 by a former Indian Minister and an anti-corruption lawyer with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in New Delhi, against Modi for “abuse of authority” and “grant of undue advantages” in connection with the sale of Rafale, and the facts revealed by Mediapart and Sherpa’s investigation,” Sherpa said in a statement.
The Sherpa statement adds that Anil Ambani, Modi’s close associate; Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation; and the former Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar have also been targeted in the complaint filed in New Delhi for “complicity”.
“France cannot do less than India. Cooperation between both countries should be rapidly established, as it is always the case with international grand corruption investigation. Moreover, the hearing of great witnesses is possible and desirable,” said William Bourdon, founder of Sherpa.
Sherpa expects the National Public Prosecutor’s Office to promptly investigate the seriousness of the facts and the presumptions on the reported offences, including potential corruption, grant of undue advantages, trading in influence, complicity of these offences, concealment of corruption, and laundering of these offences.
The shady Rafale deal in which PM Modi is an accused is also getting significant international press coverage. The New York Times (NYT), the world’s top newspaper based in the U.S., has said in its article that Modi’s opaque arms deal has raised some serious questions.
The article headlined “With ‘Fishy’ Jet Deal, India’s Opposition Finally Lands a Blow on Modi” appeared last month in NYT. It has raised questions such as why Modi renegotiated a deal for 36 fighter jets and why a company run by a wealthy family was chosen to participate in the deal while it had no experience of building jets.
While BJP leaders are defending Modi’s Rafale deal by giving loose political statements, they are not able to handle the specific queries related to the irregularities in the case. Now Congress party and other Modi opponents are demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe in the Rafale case which is stated to be the biggest scam in the world.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
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