Kamal Haasan demands probe into Rafale deal?

Actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan has said that an investigation should be carried out to answer questions that are being raised over the Rafale deal.

Speaking to media persons on Friday, Haasan said that at a time when suspicions are being raised against the central government’s conduct, the best way out is to order an investigation that will answer all questions.

“There are a lot of allegations and suspicions [about the Rafale deal]. An investigation must be ordered. If one is innocent, there is nothing to fear,” he said.

The Modi government is facing criticism from the Opposition over alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal with French defence manufacturing giant Dassault Aviation.

The Congress has been accusing the central government of nepotism and said that it gave special preference to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence over other competitors for an offset contract with Dassault. The second criticism is about the alleged price escalation of the Rafale fighter jets from the UPA-era deal.

The chief of the Makkal Needhi Mayam also attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party for the rise in fuel prices. Haasan said the continuous rise in fuel prices is resulting in the hike in prices of other commodities too.

“The central government is more responsible for this [than the state government]. When the BJP was in the Opposition, the party had protested against hike in fuel prices. Why is not doing anything now?” he asked.

Source: India Today

Rafale deal: NCP says Pawar hasn’t given any clean chit to Modi, demands JPC probe

Mumbai, Sep 27: The NCP said Thursday that its chief Sharad Pawar has not given any clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Rafale issue, after the opposition leader’s remarks that “people have no doubts” over the prime minister’s intentions in the deal.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Nawab Malik also reiterated the party’s demands that the central government disclose the price of the fighter jets and a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe the matter.

In an interview to a Marathi news channel, Pawar had said that he didn’t think that people have doubts about Modi’s intentions in the Rafale deal.

Pawar, a former Defence Minister, had also said that the Opposition’s demand to share technical details relating to the fighter jets “made no sense”. He, however, said there was no harm for the government to disclose prices of the aircraft.

Malik said Thursday that the media reports over Pawar’s statement are “confusing and misleading”.

“He (Pawar) has not made any statement defending Modi nor has he given any clean chit (in the Rafale deal matter),” the NCP leader said.

Malik said what Pawar meant was that people initially didn’t have doubts about the prime minister.

“What Pawar saheb said was that the way the matter is being hushed up (by the government) and attention of people from the issue is being diverted, the doubt is deepening,” Malik said.

In his interview, Pawar had also said that the way Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the government’s side led to confusion in the minds of people.

Quoting Pawar, Malik said the government should share information about escalation of the fighter jets price.

“The way the BJP had insisted on forming a JPC in the Bofors deal in the 1980s, it should now allow formation of such a committee in connection with the Rafale issue too,” Malik demanded.

His remarks came even as BJP chief Amit Shah lauded Sharad Pawar’s comments and asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to believe his own ally who has put “national interests above party politics”.

“I thank Sharad Pawar, a former Defence Minister and veteran MP, for placing national interests above party politics and speaking the truth. Dear Rahul Gandhi, you would be wiser by believing your own ally and a leader of Pawar Saheb’s stature,” Shah tweeted.

He tagged the Congress president in his tweet which also attached a news story on Pawar’s comments .

Meanwhile, Malik said NCP workers will observe a “maun vrat” (vow of silence) for three hours on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2.

The Congress has launched an offensive against the BJP government over the Rafale deal with France, alleging corruption and violation of rules.

The opposition party has accused the government of causing loss to the public exchequer and endangering national security by bypassing state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in favour of some businessman “friends” for awarding the offset contract.

The government as denied the charges.

Source: PTI

BJP will be wiped out in 2019; won’t allow NRC in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

KOLKATA: Launching a scathing attack against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Centre, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise will not be allowed in the state. She added that the BJP will be wiped out in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“We will not allow NRC exercise in Bengal. They (BJP leaders) are challenging us. If we are challenged, we will give them a fitting reply,” she said.

Referring to the recent panchayat polls in the state, she alleged that the party is resorting to politics of killing in the state.

“The BJP won just a few seats in erstwhile Maoist hotbed of Jangalmahal by resorting to politics of killing. The former CPI(M) goons are now working for them,” she said at a rally here on the occasion of Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (students’ wing) foundation day.

The chief minister also said that she would not “tolerate” if a citizen is wrongfully tagged a foreigner here.

“We are Bengal tigers, we will not tolerate if an Indian citizen is dubbed a foreigner,” she asserted.

Banerjee has been a vocal critic on Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft, calling it an attempt to isolate Bengalis, Biharis and Hindus out of the state.

“West Bengal will suffer because of this. There will be huge ramifications of this (Assam NRC). Where will these 40 lakh displaced persons stay? Bangladesh won’t take them back,” Banerjee had said after the release of the historic Assam NRC document, that had names of 40.07 lakh applicants missing.

Source: Zee News

Cow Slaughter Bigger Crime than Rape or Terrorism, Beef Eaters deserve to be Hanged or Lynched: BJP MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja

A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Rajasthan Gyan Dev Ahuja while speaking to some local media persons, reiterated his earlier statements made in July this year claiming that slaughtering cows is a bigger crime than terrorism, as cows are treated and respected as “mothers” in India.

Not just that, he went steps ahead this time, claiming that cow slaughter must be treated more seriously than even rape and gang rape or cross-border terrorist acts.

Also Read: Stop Eating Beef or Get Killed, Lynchings To continue if Muslims, Christians Don’t Stop Eating Beef

Ahuja tried to defend those involved in lynching incidents claiming that they (lynching) are crimes of passion and happen on the spur of the moment in a sudden spurt of anger as a devout Hindu cannot tolerate his “mother” being murdered and that too for human consumption as beef.

“We must not blame them (those involved in lynching). Instead those who indulge in illegal trade and sale of cows for slaughter must be blamed and punished,” Ahuja is understood to have told media persons on Wednesday.

Also Read: Beef to be completely banned in Goa, rest of India by 2019?

Repeating his statements about five times during the course of the interaction, Ahuja said:

“Those who kill cows for meat must be hanged and those who involve or get involved in lynching cannot be blamed as cow slaughter is the most heinous crime of all, more evil and unforgivable than rape and gang rape, or terrorist acts.” 

Gyan Dev Ahuja, who represents Ramgarh in Alwar district, had earlier claimed terrorists kill “two to five people”, but slaughtering cows hurts the sentiments of thousands of people and hence cow slaughter is a much bigger crime than terrorism.

Also Read: Those who eat beef should be hung in public, says Sadhvi Saraswati

Speaking to media persons today, he went one steps further and added fuel to his earlier utterances, stating that cow slaughter is a bigger crime than terrorism or rape, as both these crimes though very heinous, affect only a few people, while cow slaughter is a crime against the entire nation.

“I will consider rape and terrorist activity as a lesser evil than killing a cow for food,” Ahuja is reported to have said.

Also Read: VHP and Bajrang Dal set to impose complete beef ban in India

As reported by PTI earlier, Ahuja had claimed “misbehaviour with the mother” will not be tolerated in India and therefore it is a bigger crime than terrorism.

“We treat cows like our mother,” he had said in July, according to a Hindustan Times report. “Cow slaughter should be kept in the category of terrorism and special task force should be made to deal with this issue.”

Also Read: Stop eating Pork & Beef, embrace Hindutva or else leave India

Speaking to reporters at the BJP headquarters in Jaipur, the legislator had said cow slaughtering will incite people and hurt their sentiments, which will lead to some incidents.

This is what the BJP MLA had said in July as reported by ANI:

cow-slaughter

“Court should accept this. How should such incidents be stopped?” he said, trying to justify the incidents of lynching and particularly the Alwar incident.

Also Read: Jesus was born in a Cow Shed, so Christians must Stop Eating Beef says RSS leader Indresh Kumar

Ahuja said India is a country, which respects mother and “Geeta, Dharti (land), cow, Ganga, Tulsi and a birth giver” are treated as mother in the country.

Who is Gyan Dev Ahuja?

According to the Indian Express, Ahuja is an MLA from Ramgarh, that lies in Alwar district. Ahuja enjoyed a sudden rush of national fame in 2016 at the height of the controversy over anti-national slogans being shouted in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University when he claimed that thousands of condoms and liquor bottles were found on the campus daily.

Also Read: Goans must stop eating beef and understand they live in Hindustan not Portugal

“There is a controversy over what I said but I stand by my statement. I personally practice a satvik diet and satvik way of life,” Ahuja said at the time.

Ahuja was first elected to the Rajasthan Assembly on a BJP ticket in 1998, then lost in 2003, then was re-elected in 2008 and 2013. Ahuja had also said in the past that he funded cow vigilantes to operate in his area.

Also Read: Vigilantism leads to severe Beef shortage in international tourism destination Goa

Ahuja who has studied till class 12, says he’s a journalist on his official profile. Ahuja was managing editor of a now-defunct weekly called Mat Sammat.

The BJP MLA had defended the killing of Pehlu Khan, a farmer who died after being beaten by cow vigilantes in Alwar in April 2017.

Also Read: Bible doesn’t say ‘eat beef’, Christians in India stop eating beef or we will have to stop it our way: RSS

In December 2017, a man smuggling bovines was caught and assaulted in Alwar, and Ahuja reiterated that people caught smuggling cows could be killed.

Mera toh seedha seedha kehna hai ki gautaskari aur gaukashi karoge to yu hi maroge (I will only say that if you smuggle and slaughter cows, then you will be killed),” he had said, claims an Indian Express report.

Ahuja had accused the police of conspiring against the lynchers and insisted that two of the three men arrested by the Alwar police for lynching Rakbar Khan are “innocent and should be released immediately,” the Hindustan Times had reported.

with inputs from Hindustan Times, Indian Express & PTI

With the arrest of Hindutva Terrorist Vaibhav Raut, Butchers, Meat-traders breathe easy in Nala Sopara

Nalasopara has heaved a big sigh of relief after the arrest of suspected Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut, who had allegedly terrorized his neighbourhood with his activities, reports Mid-day.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners had planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

According to the police, Raut, who called himself a gau rakshak, has been involved in a series of attacks on butchers in the area every Bakri-eid.

The ‘gau rakshak’ had terrorised the area with his activities, carrying out illegal raids on meat shops and creating communal tension in the area, say police

Raut allegedly tried to create communal tension, particularly in the neighbouring Sopara village, by harassing locals and carrying out illegal raids on mutton and beef shops.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut, other Gau Rakshaks were involved in extortion in the guise of cow protection: Extortion money was used to fund purchase of arms

Every year, the police would extern him from the area for short periods, by serving him notices under section 144 of the Mumbai Police Act.

Raut, however, would stay put by bringing in political influence in the name of cow protection, said an officer, adding that even the police will breathe easy after his arrest.

Also Read: 35-40 bombs could be manufactured with explosives seized from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut residence and office

Living in terror
Sopara village’s Muslim community, especially the butchers, lived in fear and insecurity due to Raut’s activities — even when beef hadn’t been banned by the government, he would go around conducting ‘raids’ on meat shops and harassing the owners, said a local, Anis Qureshi.

Also Read: 150 pistols, 100 bombs, 3000 bullets were on the shopping list of arrested hardliners

Speaking to Mid-day, he added, “In 2014, Raut forcibly stopped my tempo in his area and assaulted the driver.

The driver called me and I went to the spot, but Raut and his colleague abused and assaulted me too, saying I was smuggling cow meat.

They forcibly took me and my tempo to Nalasopara police station.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha has 22 different outfits, registered in different States under different names

I have never carried or supplied cow meat; after I showed all the relevant documents to the cops, they let me go and registered a case against Raut and his colleague.

“Large numbers of Muslims as well as gau rakshaks had gathered outside the police station that day… he had succeeded in creating communal tension; clashes could have erupted anytime. Huge police bandobast was then deployed in the area, for the first time in the history of Nalasopara.”

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha wants to set up a Saffron Army of 2000 trained killers and shooters for terrorist activity

Policespeak
“There are two cases of rioting and one of not following the district collector’s order registered against Raut at Nalasopara police station. Since 2015, we have been serving him notices to leave the area during Bakri-eid to maintain law and order there,” said Datta Totewar, SDPO, Nalasopara Division of Palghar district.

Source: Mid-day

“You Promised Support To Modi”: Congress Leader’s Crushing Retort To AAP, Kejriwal

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has so far been silent on the combative words from Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party.

But today his party colleague Sharmistha Mukherjee picked up cudgels on his behalf and took on AAP, saying its “boycott” of the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman elections has only helped the BJP, reports NDTV.

Mr Kejriwal has been at loggerheads with the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his party swept to power in 2015.

But the abstention of his three lawmakers from today’s voting not only pulled down the opposition score but helped the government by lowering the majority mark, says NDTV.

“AAP says ‘politics does not run on ego’. Indeed! That’s why @ArvindKejriwal is sulking & decided to abstain from voting in RS, helping BJP,” tweeted Sharmistha Mukherjee, daughter of former president Pranab Mukherjee.

AAP had made its support to opposition candidate BK Hariprasad conditional – they wanted Mr Gandhi to dial Mr Kejriwal and seek his help.

When that call did not come, the deeply upset party declared that it will stay out of the election.

Accusing the Congress of discourtesy, party leader Sanjay Singh said, “If Rahul Gandhi can hug Narendra Modi, why cannot he ask Arvind Kejriwal for support to his party’s candidate”.

Congress sources said three senior leaders — Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Ahmed Patel — had called AAP, but Mr Kejriwal wanted a call from Rahul Gandhi, which was not made, reports NDTV.

Mr Gandhi was in Chennai yesterday, attending the funeral of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.

Today, Ms Mukherjee, a spokesperson of the party’s Delhi unit, tweeted:

Why should @RahulGandhi seek support from a person who openly pledged to support & campaign for Modi in 2019 provided a demand of his is met. Politics is a battle of ideologies, not a playground for opportunists indulging in quid pro quo.

The reference was to the Mr Kejriwal’s unthinkable declaration in Delhi assembly in June that he was ready to campaign for the BJP in 2019 if Delhi was given full statehood.

The strained relation between the Congress and AAP has its roots in the 2011 anti-corruption movement, when AAP was not formed and Mr Kejriwal and his close colleagues were aides of Anna Hazare, who led the movement.

It was one of the factors that had hugely discredited the UPA government and helped the BJP win in 2014 general elections.

In 2013, AAP formed the government in Delhi with Congress support, but after 49 days, Mr Kejriwal stepped down, accusing the Congress of allying with the BJP and blocking the Jan Lokpal bill.

During Mr Kejriwal’s face off with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, he received messages of support and encouragement from most opposition parties. But there was none from the Congress.

Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken dismissed Mr Kejriwal’s sit-in protest at the LG’s house as “drama”.

Source: NDTV

India needs relief from Narendra Modi’s ‘bogus achche din’ promises: Rahul Gandhi

There is a “rising tide of anger” against the Narendra Modi government — and its four years marked by corruption, economic failure, incompetence and spread of social divisiveness — and people want the Congress and its allies to give them an alternative to Modi’s “bogus achche din” promise, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday, reports the Indian Express.

Addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party, Rahul signalled that the central theme of the party’s 2019 campaign will be “failure of the Modi government” to implement promises made before 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the alleged controversial Rafale fighter jet deal, bank frauds, agrarian distress, and the economic and job situation.

There has been a “systematic attack” on institutions ever since the “BJP and the RSS” have come to power, the Congress chief maintained. “In modern India, these institutions were called temples of democracy. Today, the RSS is intent in destroying every single one of them,” he said. “Every single institution is being penetrated by their people and the nature of institution itself is being changed,” Indian Express quoted Rahul Gandhi as saying.

He claimed that the “crisis of governance” in India is at its peak under the Modi government. “There is a rising tide of anger against the ruling dispensation. That calls upon all of us to work very hard to give the people of India the alternative they deserve — an alternative to the bogus promise of Modi-ji’s achche din.”

Rahul said, “In 2014, when he was elected, Modi-ji said India had been a slow ‘passenger train’ for 70 years after Independence. Now, under his guidance and rule, the country will become a sleek and shining magical train destined for achche din, he said. Give me your votes, Modi-ji said, and ‘I will take you on the best and most comfortable journey of your life’.

“Four years of Modi Rule later, sadly, India today looks more like a train that is being driven to disaster by an autocratic, incompetent and arrogant driver, who does not care what happens to passengers,” he said.

Arguing that the people of India are demanding change, he said they will “no longer be fooled by your (BJP’s) magical train headed for a bad accident”.

Rahul said farmers are agitating, the youth are restless and there is discontent at the lack of opportunities to earn and live with dignity. “Cabinet ministers are now publicly saying there are no jobs,” he said.

“The Rafale scam, involving over Rs 1.3 lakh crore of public money and designed to bail out debt-ridden corporate cronies of Modi-ji, is symbolic of the true ‘sanskar’ of this government — Raam naam japna, paraya maal apna,” he said, referring to an old Hindi film song indicating corruption, says Indian Express.

Source: Indian Express

Where are the Jobs” Why Rahul Gandhi and Congress praised union minister Nitin Gadkari

In a sarcastic remark over Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s “where are the jobs” comment, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday praised the BJP leader for his “excellent question”, saying every Indian had the same query, reports the Indian Express.

Gandhi’s remark comes a day after union road transport minister, in reference to the ongoing Maratha agitation, said reservation would not guarantee employment as jobs were shrinking in the country.

Talking to reporters in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district, Gadkari was quoted by PTI as saying, “Let us assume the reservation is given. But there are no jobs. Because in banks, the jobs have shrunk because of IT. The government recruitment is frozen. Where are the jobs?”

Taking a swipe at Gadkari, Gandhi tweeted, “Excellent question Gadkari Ji. Every Indian is asking the same question.” He also tagged a media report carrying Gadkari’s remarks.

The Congress party also put out a tweet, applauding Gadkari for being the first BJP minister to speak the truth about employment in the country. “We applaud Nitin Gadkari for being the first BJP Minister to speak the truth and courageously raise the question that we and the people of India have been asking,” Congress tweeted, with the hashtag WhereAreTheJobs.

Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi too rubbed it in, saying finally there was one honest politician in the BJP. “Finally one honest Neta in BJP but that too not entirely. Tho candid & outspoken, clearly even sr leader like Nitin Gadkari made 2attribute lack of jobs to AI & not BJP policies in a clumsy attempt to save face,” he tweeted.

Lack of employment has been one of the main planks of Congress’ strategy to corner the Narendra Modi-led government ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Even during the no-confidence motion debate in the Lok Sabha, Gandhi had taken a swipe at the Narendra Modi government over job creation.

“You said every person will get Rs 15 lakh – this is jhumla No 1. You said two crore youth will get jobs every year, this is jhumla No 2. In 2016-17, all over the country, four lakh people have got jobs according to the labour survey. The Indian youth had faith in the PM as in every speech of his he said he will give 2 crore jobs to the youth.” he had said.

“China provided 50,000 youth jobs every day. But the PM generates only 400 youth jobs every day. Wherever you go, you speak about jobs — make pakodas, open shops… who will give jobs? Jobs will be given by small business and shops,” the Congress chief further said.

Source: Indian Express

Congress, Samajwadi, Mayawati and Ajit Singh Reach Mega UP Deal To Take on BJP: Sources

A broad agreement has been worked out between the Congress, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Dalit powerhouse Mayawati and RLD leader Ajit Singh to take on the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the state that sends the maximum number of parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha, reports NDTV.

Sources said the parties have decided to work out the details of sharing the state’s 80 seats later.

The understanding between the parties in the nation’s largest state is crucial to the building of an opposition front to take on the BJP in next year’s general elections.

The idea of a common front in Uttar Pradesh paid dividends in by-elections held in the state earlier this year – delivering to the opposition the high-profile seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur, and later Kairana and Noorpur.

Last week, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar – one of the key interlocutors for an opposition front – met Ms Mayawati.

The meeting, sources said, explored seat adjustment, especially for the three key states going to polls at the end of the year – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

Seat-sharing between Mayawati and the Congress has hit a roadblock in Madhya Pradesh over the BSP chief’s demand for 50 of the state’s 230 seats. Sources in the Congress say the party has offered her 22 and has refused to go beyond 30.

“It has to be a formidable alliance to take on the BJP and not one that would ensure a revolt in both parties and help the BJP,” a leader said.

In Uttar Pradesh, Congress sources say the alliance is work in progress, reports NDTV.

The BSP and the Samajwadi Party have a broad understanding, under which Ajit Singh’s party will be given seats from the SP quota.

Sources say the parties are ready to give the Congress eight of 80 parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh.

“Unless there are tough negotiations, we will not agree to more than 10. The BSP will be given the maximum seats and the SP will be contesting approximately on 32. Three seats will go to the RLD,” a leader said.

The Congress has already finalised its alliances for Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

For Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu, it has worked out a seat-sharing formula with local heavyweights JMM and M Karunanidhi’s DMK.

The alliance in Tamil Nadu also includes the Left, which has agreed to work with the Congress in and outside parliament.

In Bihar, Congress’ ‘Grand Alliance’ with Lalu Yadav stands, strengthened by the defection of Nitish Kumar to the BJP.

In Maharashtra, the Congress has already worked out a seat-sharing formula with Sharad Pawar. Several smaller parties are also expected to be part of the alliance.

Source: NDTV

Narendra Modi a ‘Dalal’ or ‘Broker’ and ‘Commission Agent’ of the Ambanis’, not a ‘Chaukidar’ but ‘Bhagidar’: Sanjay Nirupam

In a hard-hitting, no holds barred, fearless  attack on PM Narendra Modi, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam accused Modi of being a ‘dalal’ and ‘broker’or ‘commission agent’ for the Ambanis’, reports Marathi publication ‘Sakal‘.

He is not a ”Chaukidar‘ but ‘Bhagidar‘ (not watchman, but partner) and is getting a cut or commission from the Ambanis on all the deals that the NDA government has approved for the Reliance Group, said Nirupam, who was speaking at a protest rally organised by the Mumbai Congress from Fashion Street to Azad Maidan in South Mumbai against the corruption in the Rafale Fighter Jet deal.

Nirupam was accompanied by former MP Eknath Gaikwad, Bhalchandra Mungekar, Mumbai-North MLA Aslam Shaikh, Mumbai Mahila Congress President Ajanta Yadav and Congress office bearers and activists who participated in the rally, which was attended by nearly 1000 people.

Taking the battle right up to Modi’s doorstep, Nirupam said:

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence which has bagged the Rafale deal, has never manufactured a nut or bolt of an aeroplane, forget a complete fighter aircraft and the NDA government led by Modi has given the entire contract to his “friend” Anil Ambani, whose company was registered only 10 days before the contract was signed.

Here is the online version of the Sakal article:

narendra-modi-anil-ambanis-dalal

With merely eight months left for the general elections, the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets – worth Rs 60,145 crore – is gradually becoming the biggest political thorn in the side of the Narendra Modi government, reports The Wire.

Days after Rahul Gandhi accused the Union government of hiding facts about the controversial fighter jet deal during the no-confidence motion in parliament, the Congress on Friday released a new set of documents to back up his claim that the Rafale purchase is one of the most blatant incidents of cronyism in independent India’s history.

Alleging multiple violations in the deal that could compromise India’s national security, the Congress said that both the prime minister and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman “lied” to the nation in order to favour the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infrastructure Limited, reports The Wire.

The then defence minister Manohar Parrikar had gotten to know about the deal only a week before it was announced in a foreign land – a convention-defying act by the prime minister. Such deals have to compulsorily be approved by the cabinet committee on security but Modi unilaterally concluded the agreement.

Then, it became evident that the Modi government bought each plane at more than Rs 1,600 crore while the previous UPA government had negotiated the deal with Dassault at only Rs 526 crore, reports The Wire.

The controversy became worse when it emerged that a joint venture company between Reliance Defence Limited (RDL) – a subsidiary of the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infrastructure Limited (RIL) – and Dassault Aviation secured the offset deal at Rs 30,000 crore. This raised eyebrows as the public sector defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had landed the offset contract in the deal that the UPA government had struck with the French aviation company, reports The Wire.

That RIL had no experience in manufacturing planes in contrast to HAL, whose sole occupation is manufacturing defence planes, ruffled many feathers last year. In addition, the clause which required Dassault to transfer its technology to HAL also found a quiet burial as the public sector company was denied its biggest ever offset contract, reports The Wire.

Although the offset contract given to the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited – a joint venture between RDL and Dassault – is worth Rs 30,000 crore, the Congress released RIL’s papers which claimed that “a consequent Lifecycle Cost Contract” of Rs 1 lakh crore was also awarded to it, states The Wire.