Congress party national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Wednesday said it is time to lodge an FIR to find the truth about the conduct of PM Modi and others involved in the Rafale deal. The Congress accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of misusing his office to give benefit to Dassault Aviation which caused loss to public exchequer

The Congress on Wednesday said it is time for an FIR for malfeasance in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter planes from France which the opposition party alleged had bled the exchequer to benefit Dassault aviation.

“Prime Minister Modi bypassed the Indian negotiating team ...The corruption and malfeasance in Rafale deal is out in open. PM Modi misused his office to give benefit to Dassault Aviation and consequently cause loss to public exchequer. It is a clear case of corruption against the PM. It is time to lodge an FIR to find the truth about the conduct of PM Modi and others involved,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a press conference.

The Congress’ charge came on a day when The Hindu newspaper in a report claimed that no bank guarantees for the transaction meant a more expensive new Rafale deal.

“The falsehood and dishonesty of Modi govt is placed in the public domain. As per the report of Indian negotiating team, the price of 36 aircraft it is Rs 63,450 Cr and not Rs 59,175 crore, as claimed by the Modi government,” Surjewala said.

Over the past year, the Congress had used the Rafale deal to target Prime Minister Modi with its chief Rahul Gandhi sticking to a point that an inflated deal was signed to benefit businessman Anil Ambani whose newly formed company became an offset partner of Dassault.

On December 14, 2018, the Supreme Court said it found no irregularities in the NDA government’s decision -making process to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault under Indo-French intergovernmental agreement. The SC has dismissed all petitions for a court-appointed probe into the deal.

On Wednesday, the Congress’s attacks were also aimed at National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

“The decision and the price to buy 36 aircraft was done by Ajit Doval on 12-13 Jan, 2016, who was neither authorised by Cabinet Committee on Security nor was he a part of Indian negotiating team. Incidentally, contract was signed on 13th Jan, 2016” Surjewala said. “How did he decide to seal a deal for the 36 fighter planes by bypassing the Indian negotiating team?”

He said even after paying substantially more for the aircraft, there was no technology transfer in the deal which was another red flag.

The government has consistently maintained that the Rafale deal is above board and firmly rejected opposition charges of corruption.

“If the PM is concerned about his post, he should be ready for an investigation,” Surjewala said.