Rafale could prove Bofors for BJP: Prashant Bhushan
New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) Swaraj Abhiyan leader Prashant Bhushan on Saturday attacked the central government over the purchase deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and said “it will prove to be the Bofors for the BJP”.
“From the stony silence of the government to the revelations made by Swaraj Abhiyan, and the allegations and evidence provided by Edmonds Allen to the government, it is clear that the Rafale deal could well be the Bofors of the BJP,” Bhushan said in a statement here.
Bhushan’s remarks came two days after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar defended the 7.87 billion euros (about Rs 59,000 crore) Rafale deal as the “best deal”.
“One might recall that when the Bofors scandal erupted, Rajiv Gandhi was known as ‘Mr Clean’ and his response was also the same — that the Bofors deal was the best deal that could be struck by the government, that the Bofors guns were the best, and thereafter a farcical CBI inquiry was done to whitewash this matter,” he added.
On Thursday, Swaraj India leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav released letters written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) by US-based lawyer C. Edmonds Allen which alleged that BJP MP Varun Gandhi was “honeytrapped and compromised” by defence middleman Abhishek Verma.
Lashing out at Gandhi, a Lok Sabha MP from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Bhushan said: “He denies he leaked any defence secrets by saying he never attended meetings of the Defence Consultative Committee and only a few meetings of the Standing Committee on Defence; and that he did not have access to any sensitive defence material.”
“Interestingly, he has not denied the allegation that he was honeytrapped by Abhishek Verma,” the Swaraj Abhiyan leader said.
Varun Gandhi has denied the allegations and said he will file a criminal defamation suit against the Swaraj Abhiyan leader.
“I was deeply hurt by the sleazy allegations against me. I will file a criminal defamation suit against Prashant Bhushan,” Gandhi said.
“Despite massive evidence being provided to the PMO, to the Defence Minister and to the National Security adviser, by way of emails photographs, letters etc., Verma just says that these are the allegations of a disgruntled former partner,” the Swaraj Bhiyan leader said.
Bhushan also attacked the government for allegedly giving a major part of the Rafale deal to Reliance and said: “Why has a major part of the contract for the Rafale deal, worth almost Rs 30,000 crore, been given to Reliance Defence owned by Anil Ambani, which has virtually no experience in defence-related production and is just a one-year-old company?”
Prashant Bhushan, a noted lawyer said Anil Ambani’s Reliance Telecom has been charge-sheeted in the 2G scam by the Central Bureau of Investigation and that Anil Ambani’s companies owe more than one lakh crore to various public sector banks.