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Rafale Jet Deal Features in Election Manifesto of India's Main Opposition Party

© AFP 2023 / MIGUEL MEDINA The Dassault Rafale fighter jet
The Dassault Rafale fighter jet - Sputnik International
India’s main opposition Congress party has promised an inquiry into the alleged irregularities of the Indo-French Rafale fighter jet deal in its election manifesto, which was released by party president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday.

New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, concluded $8.7 billion deal with the French Government in 2016  to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets under a government-to-government deal. Indian opposition parties have been demanding a probe, as they allege that the price of fighter jets under this deal is inflated and the Indian government had favoured a private company.

READ MORE: France Denies Buying Rafale Fighter Jets at a Price Cheaper Than India

"Congress will investigate several deals entered into by the BJP Government in the last 5 years and, in particular, the Rafale deal (sic)," the manifesto says as part of the promises made under the anti-corruption plank. 

Bhalchandra Mungekar, a member of the manifesto committee, further added that the inquiry into the Rafale deal will be initiated on the "first day after coming to power".

A Rafale multi-role combat aircraft - Sputnik International
Rafale Deal Becoming Modi’s Nemesis as Opposition Steps Up Probe Demand
Rahul Gandhi has been accusing the Modi government of corruption and irregularities in the Rafale acquisition and alleged that it conducted parallel negotiations and scrapped the earlier deal agreed by the Congress-led UPA government. Currently, a review petition to launch investigation by the anti-corruption body CBI in the deal is pending before the Supreme Court of India. Congress has been demanding a parliamentary probe committee into the deal.

The review petition pertains to the 14 December judgement over the procurement of 36 Rafale fighters from French manufacturer Dassault Aviation, in which the Supreme Court of India had given a clean chit to the Modi government.

READ MORE: Top Indian Court to Review its Earlier Judgement on $8.7 Billion Rafale Deal

The court is currently hearing a number of petitions filed by private citizens on the issue. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, one of the petitioners in the case, has alleged that the government lied in court about the Rafale deal and should face perjury charges.

General elections in India are scheduled to be held in seven phases, from 11 April to 19 May 2019, to form the 17th Lok Sabha and to elect the next Indian prime minister. The counting of votes is scheduled for 23 May.

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