Cong’s JPC demand in Rafale deal ‘political grandstanding’: Sitharaman

MUMBAI: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Monday termed the Congress’ demand for a JPC probe into the Rafale fighter jet deal as a “political grandstanding”.

She said the JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) probe into the Bofors deal in 1980s was of little value.

Speaking to reporters at the BJP’s Mumbai office, the defence minister said, “To ask for a JPC (in Rafale deal), is more for their (Congress) political grandstanding rather than for genuinely knowing (truth) post the Supreme Court’s verdict.”

She was speaking as part of the BJP’s decision to hold pressers in 70 cities across the country to attack the main opposition party in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s verdict on the controversial Rafale jet deal.Congs JPC demand in Rafale deal political grandstanding Sitharaman

The SC had on Friday said there is no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France, and dismissed all the petitions seeking an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Rs 58,000-crore deal.

She said, “If you want to just look at the earlier history of JPC on defence related matters, you have the Bofors related JPC, which was headed by then minister B Shankaranand.”

“It ended up calling the kickbacks, which was given for Bofors deal, as a ‘winding up charge’. It was told that they (agents in Bofors deal) had an office here, they had to wind up so we had to give them money’.

“So, kickback was converted into winding up charge. It was the outcome of that (JPC),” she said.

“Subsequently, not only Win Chaddha (a key figure in the Bofors deal), but (Italian businessman) Ottavio Quattrocchi’s involvement was also found (in the Bofors deal),” she added.

“He (Quattrocchi) had no office here (India) and did he not get entitlement for winding up charge then? What was the money given to him?” Sitharaman asked. PTI

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