NCP backs demand for JPC probe into Rafale deal

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PATNA: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday backed the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal and asked the Centre to come out with a “white paper” on the matter.

NCP national general secretary Tariq Anwar said that the BJP, which was in the opposition in the 1980s, had made vociferous demands for a JPC probe into the Bofors deal and wondered why it had a problem when Congress president Rahul Gandhi was demanding the same for Rafale.

“I am reminded of the 1980s when the entire opposition, including the BJP, was up in arms against the Rajiv Gandhi government over the Bofors deal. Gandhi, who was then the Prime Minister, agreed to set up a JPC and ultimately even got a clean chit,” Anwar told PTI.

“The Narendra Modi government asserts that its record has been without any blemishes of corruption. It also claims that no irregularities have taken place in Rafale deal. In such a case, why is it so defensive?” the general secretary of the Sharad Pawar-led party asked.

“A government with clean hands should have nothing to hide. We also demand that the government come forward with a white paper so that the people of the country could get an exact idea of what has transpired,” he said.

“Prima facie, it appears that there have been some irregularities in the deal. Moreover, the amount involved this time is much larger. As against about Rs 65 crore involved in Bofors, Rafale deal is said to be worth thousands of crores,” he said.

“Moreover, disclosures made by none other than the then French President Francais Hollande have caused suspicions to grow stronger. In such a scenario, the Centre should respect the right of the people to know the truth,” Anwar said.

The NCP leader, who represents Katihar Lok Sabha seat in Bihar, also dubbed as an “electoral stunt and polarisation tactics” the recent ordinance brought by the Centre making the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence.

“The Supreme Court has clearly stated that triple talaq is ultra vires of the Constitution. So divorce given in this manner to any woman automatically ceases to have any legal sanctity. We wonder what relief this ordinance provides to Muslim women,” he said.

“The ordinance has brought in certain penal provisions for those violating the Supreme Court judgement. In doing so, it has paid no heed to the concerns raised by various political parties in Lok Sabha, where a bill on the issue has been passed, as well as in Rajya Sabha where it is stuck,” Anwar said.

“Instead of referring the matter to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha in accordance with the norms, the Modi government has hastily brought in this ordinance. It is a clear case of polarisation tactics, nothing more than an electoral stunt,” he added.