Randeep Surjewala, chief congressional spokesperson, cited the latest developments and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must “subject” his government to an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). Congress also made this request earlier.
Surjewala described the development as “a scandalous revelation of the Rafale scam” which resulted in “loss to the public purse”. “The French have ordered an investigation into the Rafale affair for corruption and influence peddling. The cherished case is now on display. This requires a thorough JPC probe. Will the PM (Prime Minister) respond to the nation and when will the government submit to a JPC investigation? He asked.
Surjewala argued that this is not an issue between Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but a national security issue.
Mediapart reported that “the very sensitive investigation into the intergovernmental agreement signed in 2016 was officially opened on June 14”. He said that this development had been confirmed on Friday by the Financial Crimes Directorate of the French public prosecutor’s office.
The French website published a series of reports on alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal in April.
In one of the reports, Mediapart claimed that the former head of the financial crimes branch, Éliane Houlette, had put aside an investigation into alleged evidence of corruption in the Rafale affair despite the objection of his colleagues. He declared that Houlette justified his decision by saying that it had been taken to preserve “the interests of France, the functioning of the institutions”.
“Now his successor at the head of the PNF, Jean-François Bohnert, has decided to support the opening of an investigation, after the complaint has been updated with the details of the recent round of Mediapart investigations” , indicates the latest Mediapart report.
The criminal investigation, Mediapart said, “will examine the issues surrounding the actions” of former French President François Hollande, who was in office when the Rafale deal was signed, of his successor, Emmanuel Macron, then minister of government. ‘Economy and Finance, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean. -Yves Le Drian, who then held the defense portfolio.
India ordered Rafale jets in September 2016 as an emergency purchase under a government-to-government agreement. The deal has become controversial. The opposition, led by Congress, claimed that the price at which India was buying Rafale jets is now ₹1,670 crore for each, three times the original auction of ₹526 crore by the company when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government attempted to buy the plane. He also claimed that the previous agreement included a technology transfer agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
The government did not disclose details of the award. He said the deal the UPA struck in 2012 was unsustainable, implying that it would never have been made and therefore any comparison is moot. The UPA was unable to close the deal until 2014, largely due to discussions related to the price of items not included in the original offering.
There was no immediate response from the government or the BJP.