Rafale biggest ever defence scam: Bobbeeta Sharma

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HT Correspondent

AIZAWL, Sept 15: Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) general secretary and spokesperson Bobbeeta Sharma on Saturday described the Rafale fighter jet deal as the country’s ‘biggest ever’ defence scam and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a ‘partner’ in the corruption.

Addressing a press conference at Aizawl Press Club here on Saturday, Sharma said that Congress will take the protest against the scam to every nook and corner of the country to expose Modi government’s white lies to the people of the nation.

Attacking the BJP-led government at the Centre for deceiving the people of the country, Sharma said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done the greatest disservice to the country by snatching away the ‘offset contract’ from the public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and giving it away to a private company, the Reliance Defence Limited. HAL not only lost the Rs 30,000 crore ‘offset contract’ but also the Rs 1 lakh crore ‘Lifecylcle Cost Contract’ of over 50 years.

The PM bypassed the mandatory Defence Procurement Procedures by taking the arbitrary decision of reducing the number of Rafale aircrafts from the earlier 126 to 36 aircrafts and giving it to a private company instead of the PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Hence the Congress party questions the PM where do his priorities lie? In furthering the interests of a public sector undertaking that belongs to the nation or in furthering the interests of a private company that belongs to a certain individual?

Why PM Modi favoured ‘a private company with zero experience in manufacturing aircrafts, in maintenance, repair and upgradation and ‘rejected’ a public sector undertaking that had years and decades of experience in manufacturing aircrafts?

Sharma also questioned the lies of Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman with regard to the denial of giving offset contract to any partner. In a PIB release dated February 12, she said that ‘no offset contract has been awarded’. This is falsified by press release and Investor Presentation of Reliance as also the Annual Report of 2016, Dassault Aviation. The lies of Defence minister is additionally exposed by French Defence minister Florence Party herself who visited New Delhi and met Sitharaman herself on March 27 in the morning and left for Nagpur in the afternoon to take part in the foundation laying ceremony of Reliance factory to execute offsets, in the presence of Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.  It is pertinent to note the dates of the PIB Press release and the activities that already took place in the years 2016 and 2017.

The Congress spokesperson also exposed the lies of Sitharaman regarding the ‘secrecy clause’ that she and the Prime Minister wanted to hide behind regarding the decision not to reveal the ‘price’ of the aircraft.

During the Congress led UPA Govt the commercial price of Mirage aircraft, Sukhoi aircrafts were disclosed in Parliament. Secrecy clause only applies to technical details and not to commercial price. So who does the PM and the Defence minister trying to fool?

The Congress party maintains that as an opposition it is duty bound to expose the lies and the web of deceit woven by the BJP Govt led by PM Modi and aided by his Defence Minister, to the people of the country and the people of the country have a right to know the truth.

Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee media chairman James Thanghmingmawia, Secretary Media David M Thangliana, general secretary Dr L H Chhuanawma and executive member MPCC Lalringliana Khiangte were also present at the press meet.

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