New Delhi: Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan, former BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie on Thursday urged the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and others in the matter of purchase of 36 Rafale fight jets fro Dassault Aviation, under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Registering a complaint with the CBI, all the three have also demanded an FIR against Anil Ambani, the owner of Reliance Defence Limited, and Dassault Aviation and its CEO Eric Trappier.
“We call upon you to register an FIR against Mr Anil Ambani for conspiring with the Prime Minister, Mr Modi, to receive an undue advantage/pecuniary gain against public interest and investigate and prosecute the matter,” reads the complaint registered by Bhushan, Sinha and Shourie to the CBI.
Citing the “abuse of authority” clause in the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, to proceed against Modi and Parrikar, the complainants alleged, “Mr Anil Ambani’s companies have been verging at the point of insolvency. Creditors of his group companies have initiated proceedings against his companies to recover their dues. Reliance ADA has had to sell many of its precious assets to pay off its interest obligations and stave off insolvency proceedings."
"Under these circumstances, a conspiracy was hatched by the two of them (Modi and Anil Ambani), by way of which, Mr Modi obtained an ‘undue advantage’ from Dassault Aviation, for awarding a contract for 36 Rafale aircrafts in ‘fly-away’ condition, by abusing the authority of his office and doing his public duty dishonestly and improperly", they said.
“The ‘undue advantage’ has been received by his close associate and friend Mr Ambani. As a consideration for abusing his official authority and doing his public duty dishonestly, Mr Modi compelled Dassault to choose Mr Ambani as an offset partner, by way of which Mr Ambani received, and is receiving, and will continue to receive, for the next 40 years, an ‘undue advantage’,” the complainants further alleged.
Accusing PM Modi of “influencing the decision of the Contract Negotiation Committee by agreeing to purchase a few additional weapons at highly inflated prices,” the complainants alleged that PM Modi ensured that the price per aircraft was increased by 1,000 crores of rupees more so that the final offset obligation and the undue advantage to be taken by Ambani was as high as possible.
Referring to an amendment to the Section 17(A) of Prevention of Corruption Act, Bhushan, Sinha and Shourie said that they are aware of the peculiar situation in which CBI will have to seek permission from PM to investigate a case against him. "However, prior sanction is not necessary for the registration of the FIR", said Bhushan.
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