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Modi government shunts Rafale whistle-blower: Congress

The Congress on Thursday alleged that the Narendra Modi government has shunted a senior official, who indicated the loss in the Rafale jet deal, and rewarded his boss who overruled him, saying there were “perks of pleasing” that covered “corruption tracks.”

Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has paid 300 percent more for the defense deal that was negotiated to purchase 36 fighter jets from France as compared to an earlier price offered by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for 126 jets.

“The Modi government shunted the whistle-blower Joint Secretary (Air) who questioned the loss to government treasury by paying 300 percent extra for 36 Rafale.

“Director-General Smita Nagaraj, who overruled the joint secretary, was made a member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Perks of pleasing Modi government cover corruption tracks,” Surjewala said attaching an Indian Express report along with his tweet.

The newspaper report stated that nearly a month before the deal was signed in September 2016 by then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart in New Delhi, then Joint Secretary and Acquisition Manager (Air) in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), who had been part of the Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC), raised questions about the benchmark price and put his objections on record.

The objections raised delayed the Cabinet note approving the deal and its signing, which only happened after his objections were “overruled” by another senior MoD official, Director General (Acquisition).

The government-to-government deal for 36 Rafale aircraft was announced by Modi during his visit to Paris in April 2015. The proposal for the earlier 126 Rafale jets during the UPA’s regime was scrapped.

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