The Congress party on Tuesday launched a stunning attack against the Centre’s Narendra Modi government on the Rafale fighter jets deal exposed by Janta Ka Reporter.
Speaking to media, the party’s head of communication, Randepp Singh Surjewala, said that Prime Minister Modi ought to have answered few questions on the purchase of 36 Rafale jets from France’s Dassault Aviation at inflated prices.
Surjewala also asked why Modi had promoted the interests of ‘one industrial group i.e. Reliance Defence Limited, which subsequently led to the company tying up and entering into a joint venture with Dassault Aviation worth Rs.30,000 crore.’
He was referring to Anil Ambani, who was reportedly present in France during the inking of Rafale deal between the Modi government and Dassault Aviation. The junior Ambani had later entered into joint venture with Dassault just 10 days after India signed the deal the French company.
He said, “Why was this done by Prime Minister bypassing the interests of a reputed public sector undertaking like HAL? Why has the joint venture for the biggest-ever Indian defence deal between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence Limited not gone through the proper procedure of approval by the Union Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Security and
Foreign Investment Promotion Board?”
TV channels in India boycotted Surjewala’s press briefing largely because the prime minister and Anil Ambani were at the centre of his criticism. The India media has often been accused of having surrendered its editorial independence to the Modi government.
Tuesday’s development conclusively established the level of fear existing among Indian news channels, who otherwise waste no opportunity to flaunt their imaginary ‘high impact’ and ‘fearless’ journalism.
This is not the first time TV channels have ignored the press briefings by opposition leaders targeting the central government. Last month, TV channels had refused to show senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s press conference live on the mysterious growth of revenue in the company owned by the son of the BJP President Amit Shah.