Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie along with senior lawyer-cum-activist Prashant Bhushan once again targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal with France, accusing him of direct culpability.
Though the trio failed to bring in new factual insights into their allegations, they pointed out violations in the Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP) by the government.
“National security has been compromised by the prime minister and every rule of the defence procurement flouted to unilaterally reduce the number of planes from 126 to 36. As per DPP, only the service headquarters can decide on the numbers," Arun Shourie, a former Union minister in the previous NDA government alleged.
“There is no doubt that in just two days PM Modi completely overturned a process that had been going on for years and he had absolutely no authority to do so,” Shourie added.
Prashant Bhushan came out with an allegation that government is forcing the serving Indian Air Force officials to speak in favour of the new deal of 36 Rafale fighter jets. Last week, Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar said what is being alleged does not match with the facts at all and the government has saved nearly 40 per cent of money compared to the previous MMRCA deal.
"Government's attempt to shoot from the shoulders of men in uniform by stating that the deal was made on account of urgency is contrary to facts and makes a mockery of the elaborate defence procurement procedure," Bhushan said.
The trio once against questioned the removal of the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), "which was involved in the negotiations since 2007", and the insertion of the newly floated Reliance Defence Ltd, which has "no experience" in manufacturing aircrafts.
They also alleged that "the responses of Reliance, [Arun] Jaitley and the government at large, cumulatively show that the awarding of offsets to Reliance-Dassault JV is a commission for the services that Ambani provides to Modi.”
Sinha said the government is spreading lies in the name of India specific enhancement to justify the high cost of the deal.