New Delhi: The Opposition parties on Saturday renewed their attack on the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre over the Rafale deal controversy, alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was acting as a “middleman” for his “crony businessman” and that layers of corruption were being unravelled in the case.
The Congress-led Opposition got fresh ammunition on the controversial issue when a French daily claimed that Anil Ambani’s company benefited from a French tax waiver in 2015 when India was negotiating the Rafale deal.
The Congress alleged that the tax concession for Mr Ambani was due to Modi “kripa” (blessings) while the Left parties said the Prime Minister’s Office “must own up to this”.
The defence ministry, however, termed as “mischievous” and “inaccurate” any attempt to draw a connection between the tax issue and the Rafale deal.
The French daily said the French tax authorities accepted 7.3 million euros from Reliance Flag Atlantic France as a settlement as against original demand of 151 million euros. Reliance Flag owns a terrestrial cable network and other telecom infrastructure in France.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the report exposed “layers” of crony capitalism and corruption. “PM Modi is acting as middleman for Anil Ambani. How many other companies in France have got a tax benefit? Is this not a quid pro quo for the purchase of aircraft? It is clear only one watchman is the thief. Those that have Modi’s blessings can get anything. If Modiji is there, then it is possible.”
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury alleged that the Modi government misused public funds to pay an “exorbitant” price for Rafale fighter jets to benefit “crony businessman” Anil Ambani through offset deal and French tax benefit.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar claimed former defence minister Manohar Parrikar relinquished his post at the Centre and returned to Goa because he did not agree with the Rafale fighter jet deal.
CPI leader D. Raja accused Modi of aiding his “corporate friends” while leaving farmers and students high and dry....