Advertising

Indian Supreme Court wants Modi government to come clean about alleged Rafale Scandal

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News Analysis |

During proceeding of a petition filed in the Indian Supreme Court against the alleged corruption in the $8.7 billion worth Rafale jet deal, the court has asked the central government to submit the details of the deal within 10 days.

It was further stated that if the content of the deal is of strategic significance, the government is not bound to share it with the petitioner however it must be submitted in a sealed dossier for the knowledge of the court. The petitioner has maintained that the primary concern regarding the matter is the pricing and not the technical specifications, due to which it cannot be averted from making it public on national security grounds.

Sources are claiming that the government is unwilling to even provide the cost details of the deal even in the sealed dossier for the information of the court.

Ever since the deal was signed in September 2016, Congress has criticized the Modi government to purchase the jets at thrice the unit cost which Congress had decided during its tenure. The Modi led BJP government has stated that the price has increased because of the purchase of advanced weaponry along the jets.

The Rafale twin-engine multi-role jets were finalized to upgrade the aging fleet of Indian fighter jets in 2012. But the deal lingered on for many years due to certain political and technical constraints before PM Narendra Modi deciding to purchase 36 units of the jet along with the coloration of Dassault, the manufacturer of Rafale, with a local aeronautical company.

Read more: Rafale Scandal: Indian defence chief denies allegations on France visit

It was anticipated that the local manufacturer to collaborate will be Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) but when Reliance group was given the project, this stirred another controversy of alleged kickback and sinister collusion between the government and the corporate tycoon Mukesh Ambani.

Reliance on Hindustan Aeronautics Limited

Reliance is a corporate group mostly visible in the I.T, power and telecom sector with no prior experience of defense production whatsoever. On the other hand, the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has been excelling in the Research and Development of several aero-defense projects. Indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft – LCA Tejas is also a significant feat achieved by HAL.

In the light of such developments, the scandal would potentially be exploited by the opposition and it might cause the loss of political space for the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

When Reliance was favored by the Modi government to pursue the crucial technology being shared by the Dassault which will be used for the production of local hardware in the long run, it was speculated that the corporate group is being given the undue favor.

Reliance also owns several of the popular mainstream news outlets which are known to overpraise the PM Modi and its government and hence the allegations of a kickback or a favor in return seemed logical. Sources are claiming that the government is unwilling to even provide the cost details of the deal even in the sealed dossier for the information of the court.

Read more: Mega corruption in Indian defense deals?

The government maintains that deal is bound by the Non-Disclosure Agreement which restricts sharing of any sort of information by either party. Experts say that the government has the authority to deny the Supreme Court order but it will have to submit an affidavit clearly stating the reason for doing so.

Impact on the Upcoming State and National Elections

The Rafale scandal is by far the biggest and apparently only major embezzlement scandal on the Modi government something which still marks as a remarkable feat for a country which is facing the menace of corruption. Several of the Indian states are having elections with the national elections for the formation of central government scheduled to take place in the next year.

Read more: Naya India: BJP passes resolution for 2019 elections while Opposition observes…

In the light of such developments, the scandal would potentially be exploited by the opposition and it might cause the loss of political space for the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The Supreme Court seems also aware of the fact that how sensitive the issue is both politically as well as from National security perspective.

“We want to satisfy ourselves on the steps taken in the decision-making. We are not going into the issue of suitability keeping in mind the sensitivity of the issue,” said the Supreme Court on the Rafale deal that could have a political impact as campaigning picks up for the state and national elections.

Continue reading

Zameen.com receives overwhelming response at its Karachi PSE

The southern regions of Pakistan offer golden investment opportunities that yield attractive returns. During the event, the company’s expert sales team gave a presentation highlighting the current situation in the real estate sector.

Murtaza Wahab steps down as Karachi administrator

Murtaza Wahab resigned from his position as high court prohibited the KMC from collecting taxes through the city's power service.

Sara Inam murder case— accused attempted to tamper with evidence

There were some new developments in the Sara Inam murder investigation as the police disclosed that the suspect attempted to tamper with the evidence.