For the second time two former BJP union ministers- Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shoure,accompanied by Swaraj Abhiyan leader and senior Supreme Court advocate Prasanth Bhushan trained their guns against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Rafale deal. For the first time, they accused Modi being personally culpable for what they called “the largest defence scam the country has seen”. The trio accused the prime minister of unilaterally proceeding with a deal that bypassed long laid down procedures of defence procurement in an illegal manner.
Arun Shourie went to the extent of stating that the entire deal has been struck by one man, the Prime Minister and the entire web of lies has been spun to protect that one man. The trio demanded the government to immediately make public all details of the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets, while claiming that the Bofors scandal pales before what they alleged to be a ₹35,000 crore scam. The three of them said the 2015 purchase from France is “an enormous scandal that jeopardises national security.”
In support of their accusations, the trio cited Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s blog from August 28 that said the Rafale deal was announced on April 10, 2015, and the approval of the Defence Acquisition Council came through on May 13, 2015. They questioned how the DAC approval was taken after the deal was announced when it is considered a “condition precedent.”
The trio accused the government of using the Indian Air Force to cover up for itself. “Now you are making [the] IAF Vice-Chief lie?! He is lying! IAF never said buy 36 aircraft. You are playing with IAF’s morale,” said Prashant Bhushan. The three also accused Prime Minister Modi of usurping the authority of Services Head Quarters to decide the number of aircraft required, and the authority of the Categorisation Committee to determine what would be the category under which the procurement would proceed.