PM’s turnaround from earlier purchase agreement mired in deep corruption and money laundering, it says
A Joint Parliamentary Committee must be formed to investigate the truth behind the Rafale deal and look into the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The demand follows a French judge’s appointment to investigate the multi-million dollar deal.
The CPI(M)’s highest body discussed the issue at its meeting on Saturday. “The Polit Bureau reiterates its demand raised in September 2018 for the constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate the role of the Prime Minister and the government in this whole episode and establish the truth of the deal,” said a statement issued on Sunday.
It noted that France’s public prosecution services had ordered an investigation by a French judge into the 2016 deal following a decision by its financial branch. Judicial investigation was formally opened into the Inter-Governmental Agreement on June 14. The statement pointed to a French investigative website’s expose of official papers which allegedly show that Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation entered into an agreement with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group on March 26, 2015, which was 15 days before PM Modi’s announcement of the new deal which excluded state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
“This reconfirms the apprehensions raised by the CPI(M) that PM Modi’s turnaround from the earlier purchase agreement, is mired in deep corruption and money laundering,” said the Polit Bureau’s statement.
It also condemned the Essential Defence Services Ordinance, 2021, claiming that it aimed to prohibit “legitimate protests” in ordnance factories against the “naked loot of national assets”.
Raking in revenue
The party accused the Centre of “raking in revenue at the expense of ruining people’s lives” by hiking excise duties on petrol and diesel at a time of deep economic distress and demanded that these duties be scrapped. Noting that the price hikes have led to an inflationary spiral in the prices of essential commodities, the CPI(M) urged the Centre to give a direct cash transfer of ₹7,500 to all families outside Income Tax paying bracket and distribute free food kits as well.
The CPI(M) also expressed alarm regarding the shortfall of COVID-19 vaccines needed to vaccinate all adults by the end of the year, demanding that the Central government must immediately procure them from all global sources to combat the third wave.