Rafale deal is India's 'largest defense scam', says Prashant Bhushan
Senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan today in Chennai said Rafale deal is the "largest defense scam in India" and urged the Center to initiate a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the matter. He questioned how Anil Ambani's Reliance Defense, the Indian offset partner of French firm Dassault Aviation, could be involved in the project as "most of his companies are in debt".
Bhushan says Rafale deal also 'severely compromised' national security
"This is not only the largest defense scam in India, but is one where national security has been severely compromised. While the IAF wanted 126 flights, it was reduced to 36," Bhushan said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after holding talks with then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris.
Ambani couldn't have entered deal without Defense Minister's approval: Bhushan
Congress accused the Center of choosing Reliance Defense over state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to benefit the private firm though it didn't have any experience in aerospace. Lashing out at PM Modi and Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Bhushan charged the Center with making IAF officials "lie" about the deal. He further suggested that Ambani's company couldn't have entered the deal without the Defense Minister's approval.
Hollande's claim has triggered a major political row
Hollande's reported comments that New Delhi had proposed Reliance Defense as the Indian partner for the contract has escalated into a major political row, even as French government said it had no say in the choice of the Indian industrial partner for the multi-billion dollar deal. However, Dassault Aviation refuted Hollande's claims and said that it was their decision to partner with Reliance.