Corruption in India is pervasive, omnipresent and multifarious, especially in the nexus between politics and business. As India heads toward its general election, expected to be held in April and May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finds himself embroiled in controversy around one of the country’s largest arms purchase contracts: a murky 7.8 billion euro weapons deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter planes from France. Indian opposition led by Rahul Gandhi, the president of the Congress Party, is on a vigorous offensive, charging Mr. Modi with bypassing institutions and procedures for defense acquisitions, causing a huge loss of public funds, compromising national security, using the multibillion arms deal to offer a lucrative contract to a billionaire ally and covering up corruption by refusing to disclose the pricing details. In 2014, Mr. Modi came to power after pillorizing Mr. Gandhi’s dynastic Congress party, painting it as corrupt and offering himself and his Bharatiya Janata Party as the clean, corruption-free alternative. Now Mr. Gandhi is returning the favor, and his efforts to frame the arms deal as the grand corruption scandal of Mr. Modi’s tenure are gaining traction. Mr. Modi’s party has been on the defensive, and independent journalistic investigations are resulting in… Read full this story
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