Sep 12, 2018: PM Modi to blame for Rafale scam, say Shourie, Bhushan and Yashwant Sinha Former Union Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, and Swaraj Abhiyan leader Prashant Bhushan, held their second press conference on the Rafale aircraft deal yesterday.
Former Union Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, and Swaraj Abhiyan leader Prashant Bhushan, held their second press conference on the Rafale aircraft deal yesterday. The trio trained their guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of being personally culpable for what they called "the largest defence scam the country has seen".
Speaking to the media, Arun Shourie said, "The entire deal has been struck by one man, the PM. And the entire web of lies has been spun to protect that one man."
The trio accused the prime minister of unilaterally proceeding with a deal that bypassed long laid down procedures of defence procurement in an illegal manner.
They cited Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s blog from August 28 that said the Rafale deal was announced on April 10, 2015, and the approval of the Defence Acquisition Council came through on May 13, 2015.
Shourie, Sinha and Bhushan questioned how the DAC approval was taken after the deal was announced when it is considered a "condition precedent."
The three also accused Prime Minister Modi of usurping the authority of Services Head Quarters to decide the number of aircraft required, and the authority of the Categorisation Committee to determine what would be the category under which the procurement would proceed.
"Where did India specific add-ons come from suddenly for Rs 1,000 crore? There’s a system to even have it, and it goes from IAF to Categorisation Committee to DAC. What kind of fools do you think Indians are?" asked Prashant Bhushan.
In fact, Yashwant Sinha added that the India-specific enhancements were not new, and had been incorporated into the deal the UPA was drawing up with France.
The trio accused the government of using the Indian Air Force to cover up for itself. "Now you are making [the] IAF Vice-Chief lie?! He is lying! IAF never said buy 36 aircraft. You are playing with IAF’s morale," said Prashant Bhushan, who is a Supreme Court advocate.
In response to the argument given by Union Minister MJ Akbar in a leading publication recently that there was no "Quattrochhi" or "middleman" in the Rafale deal as opposed to Bofors, Yashwant Sinha said, "There is no need for an uncle because there is a nephew in this deal".