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Modi’s direct culpability in Rafale deal: Shourie 

New Delhi, September 11

Former Union Minister Arun Shourie today alleged that the deal to buy 36 Rafale jets from Dassualt Aviation of France was the direct culpability of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in “compromising national security”. 

When he announced the decision about getting 36 jets in April 2015 in Paris, Modi overturned the work of 7-8 years done by previous governments. There is no scope for discretion of the PM in such matters, said Shourie, addressing a media conference here.

He was accompanied by another former minister Yashwant Sinha and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan.

Shourie termed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as “minister for blogging” in an obvious reference to his recent blogs on the subject. “His statement is contradictory to what he has said in Parliament,” said Shourie.

Jaitley says approval of the Defence acquisition council (DAC) was taken in May 2015, then how did the PM arrive at the number (36 planes) and the decision before the DAC had met. Dismissing claims of India-specific upgrades, Shourie referred to the April 2015 joint statement of Modi and French President François Hollande. It said the aircraft and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the “same configuration” as had been tested and approved by the Indian Air Force.

Both Sinha and Shourie said the government has “spun a web of lies to protect Modi’s culpability in the largest defence scam” the country has ever seen.

“Every explanation they put out ensnares the government in the web of lies they have spun. This means they have a lot to hide,” said Shourie.

The following points need to explained: How price increased from 670 crore to 1,680 crore; how HAL was not included; why there is no transfer of technology; and how the deal is actually causing a delay.

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