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BJP, Congress trade charges after report says bribe was paid in Rafale deal

BJP, Congress trade charges after report says bribe was paid in Rafale deal

New Delhi, Nov 9 (UNI) The BJP and Congress on Tuesday traded charges over alleged corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal, a day after French news portal Mediapart published a report alleging that bribes were paid in the deal.
While the Congress slammed the Narendra Modi government for trying to 'cover-up' the corruption by not ordering a probe, the BJP said the report showed bribes were paid during the tenure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by the Congress.
Both Congress and BJP held back to back press conferences over the revelations made by the report in the French portal, attacking each-other over the alleged scam.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi in a tweet urged Congress members to fight against "corrupt union government', while party leader Pawan Khera in a press conference accused the Modi government of attempting a cover-up.
BJP hit back, with party spokesperson Sambit Patra pointing out that the bribe was paid between 2007-2012, during the tenure of the UPA government.
"There is nothing to fear when truth is with you every step of the way. My fellow Congress members keep fighting against the corrupt central government. Don't stop, don't get tired, don't be afraid!" Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, with a hashtag 'Rafale scam'.
Party leader Pawan Khera said the BJP government sacrificed national security and jeopardized the interests of the Indian Air Force.
"On 23rd October 2018, a PM Modi-led Committee removed CBI Director Alok Verma in a midnight coup, raided the CBI headquarters using Delhi Police and appointed its protege, M Nageshwar Rao as the CBI chief. This was part of a concerted conspiracy to bury the 'Rafale Ghost' through the CBI," Khera alleged.
"Why has the Modi government and the CBI not acted upon the evidence of commission and corruption for last 36 months? Why has it been buried? Why did Modi government remove the CBI Chief in a midnight coup?" he added.
He said the Rafale deal was the "biggest defence scam" and only an independent investigation would reveal the truth.
Patra meanwhile slammed the Congress, blaming Congress, the Nehru-Gandhi family, and the UPA government for the alleged corruption in the Rafale fighter jets deal.
He said, "INC means 'I Need Commission'."
"Today it has been revealed that the Congress government took commission during the Rafale negotiations between 2007 and 2012, in which the name of the middleman has also come to the fore," Patra said.
"Rahul Gandhi should reply... Why did you and your party try to spread confusion about Rafale for so many years? The story of commissions paid in Rafale deal is a big conspiracy. The whole matter happened between 2007 and 2012," he said.
"We all saw the way the opposition parties, especially the Congress, tried to create a false atmosphere regarding Rafale before the 2019 elections. They thought it would benefit them politically," he said.
A report in French news portal Mediapart said Dassault aviation paid at least 7.5 million euros in bribes to a middleman for the Rafale deal. The report said bulk of payments were made before 2013. The Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014.
It also said payments were made to alleged middleman Sushen Gupta, who had also been accused of taking bribe in the Agusta Westland VVIP chopper deal, as well. The article published alleged false invoices enabled Dassault to pay secret commissions to Gupta.
Congress has been alleging irregularities in the deal for buying 36 Rafale fighter jets off-shelf from France, signed between the Indian and French governments.
The Congress has alleged that the fighter jets are being bought from France at a price higher than what was negotiated in the previous multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal under which 126 fighter jets were to be bought, and included a number of fighters being assembled in India.
UNI AO SHK1957

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