New Delhi: Alleging French defence major Dassault Aviation of paying “kickback” to secure the Rafale deal, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not survive if the “huge corruption” in the purchase was probed.
“If an inquiry starts on this (Rafale deal), Modi is not going to survive it, guaranteed,” Gandhi said at a press conference at the party headquarters here.
Citing two reasons for his claims, he said: “One, because of corruption. Two, because it is very clear who the decision maker was… Nobody would be able to say that some general in the Air Force or the Defence Minister or some bureaucrat from the Defence Ministry. It was a deal done by Narendra Modi to give Anil Ambani Rs 30,000 crore,” he said.
Gandhi also said that if there was nothing to hide, Modi would have ordered an inquiry into the decision to purchase the fighter jets from France.
“If the Prime Minister was not involved, he would have said ‘let there be an enquiry by the CBI or the Supreme Court’. But he is silent. He has lost his sleep because of tension because he knows he will be caught.”
Referring to Dassault Aviation investing Rs 284 crore in a “loss making” Indian company, Gandhi said it was the “first instalment of kickback” that was paid by the French defence major to secure the deal.
“Dassault CEO (Eric Trappier) had claimed his company chose Reliance as its offsets partner because it had land available next to an airport. But now it has been revealed that the land was bought by the money that was invested by Dassault.
“The CEO is lying. The big question is why a firm would invest Rs 284 crore in a company with a capital of just over Rs 8 lakh and is loss making? It is clear cut that this (investment) is the first instalment of kickback given by Dassault,” said Gandhi.
The Congress President alleged that Trappier was “lying” to save Modi who in April 2015 had announced the inter-governmental deal to buy 36 Rafale jets in “complete violation” of defence procurement policies.
He also alleged that Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Kumar Verma was “removed” because he was looking into documents pertaining to the deal that could nail the Prime Minister.
“The CBI chief was looking into all these papers it is obvious that there is enough material in public domain to nail Modi,” said Gandhi, alleging that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s recent visit to France was a part of a cover-up which the Modi government was indulging in to prevent the truth from coming out.
While asserting that his party would continue demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the deal, Gandhi said: “Modi is terrified and will never agree for a JPC.”
Reiterating that French President Emmanuel Macron had told him that there was no secrecy clause about the price factor in the Rafale deal, Gandhi said: “Pricing cannot be part of the secrecy clause.