As the Rafale debate heats up, the BJP has brought to light 'Vadra link' in connection with the deal. In a press Conference on Tuesday, BJP raked up the role of arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari who was allegedly linked with Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra.
Defence dealer Sanjay Bhandari became a high-profile defense consultant, liaison services provider and executor of offsets obligations for foreign armament companies after setting up his flagship company Offset India Solutions (OIS) Group in 2008. Following a rapid transformation of the group into a multi-crore venture, it came under the scanner of investigators. After the NDA government came into power in 2014, within no time his business dealings were red-flagged. Under the radar of both the Income Tax authorities and the Enforcement Directorate, his company which is worth around several hundred crores was probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had said that he was a kingpin of a scandal in which he was importing cars by avoiding customs duty.
On Tuesday, the BJP sought to know why Congress president Rahul Gandhi was mum on his brother-in-law Vadra's link with Bhandari. The entire case dates back to 2012 when Reliance Industries tied up with Dassault aviation to supply 126 fighter jets to India under the UPA regime. Did Vadra’s friend Sanjay Bhandari seek to partner with Dassault for the Rafale deal by entering into a joint venture with Rafaut? As per a press release, Rafaut had close business connections with HAL for over 3 decades.
Moreover, in 2013 when UPA was in power, the Annual Report of Rafale claimed that the Rafale negotiations with India were taking a “ long time” because of “ coming to agreements with local companies, and in particular with our main partner, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), on the work to be done in India”.
Here's the concerned part from the 2013 Annual Rafale Report:
“They are progressing well, in a spirit of mutual trust. It is taking a long time because it is a complex issue. The negotiations relate to the sale of 18 aircraft and the manufacturing under license of 108 more. This involves coming to agreements with local companies, and in particular with our main partner, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), on the work to be done in India. You have to bear in mind just what the production of a combat aircraft such as the Rafale entails: 30,000 parts, 25 kilometers of wiring, 300,000 fasteners, and so on. Over 500 French companies are involved in the program. In India, we need to look not necessarily for the same number of companies, but for the same diversity of skills and capacities. We are confident, though, since it is a crucial industrial and operational challenge for the Indians, who have been faithful clients in the military domain for 60
years. Everything is in place and the teams all mobilized to finalize this major contract in 2014.”
Earlier on Tuesday, BJP brought out the role of Sanjay Bhandari who was allegedly linked with Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra.
While addressing the media, BJP's Gajendra Singh Shekhawat claimed:
"You must have come across the name of Sanjay Bhandhari. Sanjay Bhandhari was involved in Rafale deal. Sanjay Bhandari was under pressure to get the deal for his company, thus the government was under pressure. Vadra link was used to compromise the Defence of the nation. Congress campaign against Rafale for the company refusing to bid Vadra interests back then".
He further questioned the Congress Party and demanded answers. He also said that BJP will produce the required documents in the public domain.
"Why has Congress not answered all these questions asked by Arun Jaitley. Will Rahul Gandhi will reply on this? Congress must answer why they compromised our forces our Defence. Has Congress compromised the Nation? Was it a backburner to an arms dealers? Is it fair? We want to ask the people of this nation too. Inquiry has been happening on Bhandari. When the time comes we will produce the documents in the public domain".