Cong to move SC for probe

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 4/6/2021 11:48:25 PM

NEW DELHI, April 5: The Congress on Monday threw a bombshell at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a middleman paid a commission in the Rafale fighter jet deal by the French company Dassault as "gifts to clients."
Its general secretary and chief spokesman R S Surjewala told a press conference here that Prime Minister Modi must himself answer to the nation since he had personally handled the deal as to whether the payment of €1.1 million was really a commission paid to the middleman who are not allowed in the defence deals.
The Congress will move the Supreme Court for a probe into the admission by Dassault that the payments were made by it as a "gift" in return for India signing a deal to buy 36 fighter jets from the company, he said.
He said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been vindicated on his charge of corruption in the Rafale deal from day one. Demanding an independent probe into this corruption, he asked: "How can “Middleman” and “Payment of Commission” be permitted in a ‘Government to Government Defence Contract” or in any Defence deal in India - a violation of the mandatory Defence Procurement Procedure?"
"Does it now not require a full and independent investigation into India's biggest defence deal to find out as to how much bribery or commission or both have been paid in reality, if any, and paid to whom in the Indian government," Surjewala asked in five questions fired at the Prime Minister.
The Congress picked up the Rafale scam from the sensational revelations in the last evening report of French news portal Mediapart.fr, revealing existence of middleman, payment of commission and red flags raised by the French Anti-Corruption Agency, AFA. It said any evidence of middleman or commission has serious penal consequences of banning the supplier defence company and cancellation of the contract.
The allegations of causing loss to public exchequer, bribery and payment of commission in India's biggest defence deal once again stared in the face of the Modi government.
The AFA probe revealed that after signing of the deal in 2016 for Rs 60,000 crore, Dassault, manufacturer of Rafale, paid 1.1 million euro to a middleman, i.e. Defsys Solutions, showing it as "gifts to clients" in its records.
On March 30, 2017 Dassault explained to AFA that this was payment for manufacture of 50 models of Rafale. AFA did not accept its explanation raising three questions: (a) Why has Dassault asked an Indian company to make models of its own aircrafts and that also at €20,000 per piece?; (b) Why was this expenditure then entered as “Gifts to Clients”?; and (c) Were these models ever made? If yes, where and when were they displayed?
AFA was not satisfied with the explanation as it pointed towards a hidden financial transaction since the company could not give records of the so-called models.
Defsys Solutions, India is actually a company undertaking assembly of flight simulators and optical & electronic system etc. and the question remains who got the money "gifted" by Dassault through this firm.

 

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