Rafale Case: If PM Modi Is a Thief, Why Is He Not in Jail?

Narendra Modi (file photo). Courtesy: PIB
Narendra Modi (file photo). Courtesy: PIB

Rahul Gandhi must understand that if PM Modi is not jailed, he is not a thief. If the Congress president is sure that Modi is a thief, he must get him imprisoned.

By Rakesh Raman

As the controversy surrounding the Rafale deal refuses to slow down, today Congress president Rahul Gandhi claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has admitted his theft in the Supreme Court.

The Congress leader further claimed that in his affidavit in the court, Modi has stated that he had changed the Rafale contract without the consent of Indian Air Force – which led to a corruption of Rs. 30,000 crore.

But the big question is if Modi has admitted his crime – as Rahul Gandhi claims – and he is being repeatedly called a thief by Rahul Gandhi, why Modi is still roaming freely. Why is he not being caught by the police and jailed? Is there a special Indian law for political leaders which gives them impunity?

After Rahul Gandhi’s allegations against Modi, people are openly targeting Modi with the hashtag #Mera_PM_Chor_Hai (my PM is a thief) which is based on a popular dialogue in a Hindi film Deewar.

But all these seem to be baseless allegations. Instead of calling Modi a thief in his politically motivated rhetoric, Rahul Gandhi should lay out an unambiguous roadmap that he is following to get Modi imprisoned. He can take a cue from Pakistan where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam were jailed in a corruption case.

Rahul Gandhi is only making some random allegations which are being refuted by Modi and his friends. Then how will ordinary Indian citizens know the truth in the Rafale case?

Many Modi supporters believe that this is a political gimmick that the opposition party Congress is trying to play against PM Modi. A BJP leader and Modi’s friend Arun Jaitley has refuted the allegations, saying that it is an attempt to malign the government by spreading falsehood regarding the 2016 Inter-Governmental Agreement for the procurement of Rafale fighter aircraft.

Although the case has now reached India’s top investigating agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), it is difficult to know the facts of the case because no one has been jailed.

Former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan have filed a complaint with the CBI, urging the agency to register an FIR against PM Modi and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar.

The complaint alleges that Modi and Parrikar have committed a number of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, in the course of the April 2015 decision to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft from Dassault Aviation. The complaint was handed over to Alok Verma, director of the CBI who was forced by the Modi government to go on leave.

The complaint states that Modi – who is a public servant – misused his position as PM of India to give undue benefit to his close associate Anil Ambani who is the Chairman of Reliance ADA group of companies.

“With 46 documents as annexures, it makes an unanswerable case for prosecution of PM Modi, Ambani, and co-conspirators under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” Prashant Bhushan said.

Earlier, Congress had submitted a detailed complaint about corruption in Rafale deal to India’s top anti-corruption organization Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) which is largely a toothless outfit controlled by the government.

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 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.

Moreover, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had brought up the issue of corruption in Rafale deal when he was discussing the no-confidence motion against the Modi government in Parliament.

Attacking the Modi government for its massive corruption, the Congress president had said that Modi who promised to be a Chowkidar (guard of government assets) has become a Bhagidaar (partner in corruption).

Although opposition parties are up in arms about the Rafale issue, it is largely believed that today there is no administrative or judicial institution in India that can go against the corruption in the Modi government.

So, Rahul Gandhi must understand that if Modi is not jailed, he is not a thief. If the Congress president is sure that Modi is a thief, he must get him imprisoned. The sooner the better.

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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Rakesh Raman