A day after French portal Mediapart’s report emerged on alleged kickbacks paid before 2013 to a middleman involved in the Rafale deal, and on the CBI failing to investigate these allegations despite evidence, a political row has erupted.
The BJP attacked the Congress over alleged corruption when it was in power before 2014. The Congress, at the same time, accused the BJP of a “cover-up” on corruption.
“INC (Indian National Congress) means ‘I need Commission’. It would not be an over-projection that during the UPA tenure, they had a deal within every deal and they could still not strike a deal,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said today, mocking the Congress’s acronym.
The Congress said: “The latest revelations in Operation Cover-up reveal the dubious nexus between (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi government-CBI-Enforcement Directorate to bury the Rafale Corruption.”
Mediapart said in its latest report that French plane-maker Dassault paid at least 7.5 million euros (nearly Rs 650 million) in bribes to a middleman to help secure the sale of 36 Rafale fighter jets to India and Indian agencies failed to investigate it despite the presence of documents.
Mediapart, which been investigating allegations of corruption in the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal, said the bulk of the alleged payments were made before 2013.
NDTV cannot independently verify the authenticity of these documents and has reached out to the CBI for comment.
Mediapart has published alleged false invoices that it says enabled Dassault to pay secret commissions to alleged middleman Sushen Gupta. “Despite the existence of these documents, the Indian federal police has decided not to pursue the affair and has not begun an investigation,” the portal says. According to its report, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate have had proof since October 2018 that Dassault paid kickbacks to Sushen Gupta to secure the sale of Rafale jets.
The evidence, says the report, is present in confidential documents that surfaced in another corruption case being investigated by the two agencies – the scandal involving the supply of VVIP choppers by AgustaWestland.