By: Soumadip Dey
During the recent BJP National Council meet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that there have been no accusations of corruption against the ruling NDA government.
The Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, also stated that there have been no charges of corruption against the Modi government, and, moreover, there have been no major terror attacks while it has been in power.
She urged BJP supporters to spread this message, and highlight how there has not even been a ‘whisper’ of corruption under the present government. The BJP’s enthusiastic online cadre duly took up this challenge, with many people sharing these claims on social media. A number of users have posted about India being corruption and terror-free ever since Narendra Modi came to power.
Facts: Apart from the most prominent recent allegations about the Rafale deal controversy, there have been plenty of corruption charges against the NDA, as well as specific BJP ministers. Metafact takes a look at some of them to fact-check this claim of corruption free NDA governance.
The Rafale scam is unquestionably the most prominent one the NDA government is allegedly implicated in. The Prime Minister announced in 2015 that India would purchase 36 French-manufactured Rafale fighter jets from Dassault, the French aircraft builder. The UPA had earlier negotiated a deal to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets, with another 108 others being assembled in India by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Bangalore. The opposition has accused the government of signing the deal at a much higher cost than what the UPA had negotiated with France in 2012. Allegations of corruption have also been made against the Prime Minister himself by opposition leaders, who claim that the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence Limited had been unfairly picked to be the French firm’s Indian partner.
Another major fraud BJP government members are implicated in is the Vyapam scam, which involved employing fake candidates to write papers and forge answer sheets by bribing official medical students and state government employees. While investigators have made arrests, a number of unusual deaths of people associated with the case seems to indicate something highly untoward. Laxmikant Sharma, a former leader of the BJP, is an accused in the Vyapam scam and has been named in the FIR.
The DMAT scam is similar to the Vyapam scam, in that it involved admission rigging and also took place in Madhya Pradesh. The scam, which is now estimated to be in the vicinity of 10,000 crores, unraveled in June 2015 when Yogesh Uprit, the Controller of Dental and Medical Admission Test (DMAT) exam, was arrested. Investigators are probing the role of members from the Madhya Pradesh cabinet, as well as ex-cabinet ministers from the BJP who may have been involved in the scam.
Allegations of corruption were also raised against the BJP government at the centre when the Union Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, helped the scam-tainted former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi obtain British travel documents. Lalit Modi is wanted by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged foreign exchange regulation violations in the IPL T20 cricket tournament held in South Africa in 2009.
The Sahara papers also created a major political row when allegations of corruption were raised against Narendra Modi himself. The purported Sahara papers allegedly named over a hundred leaders, across the political spectrum, who had received payment or kickbacks.
Eknath Khadse, a senior BJP leader and former Revenue Minister from Maharashtra, was accused in illegal land deals in Pune. Following allegations of corruption and misuse of office, he resigned from the party in June 2016.
Another high-profile BJP politician who has faced corruption allegations is Raman Singh, the former Chief Minister of Chattisgarh. He has been accused of participating in a Rs. 36,000 crore scam involving a public distribution scheme for rice.
It seems clear then, that there have been multiple allegations of corruption against the BJP-led NDA, both at the central and the state level.
Turning now to the claim that there have been no terror attacks, here are a few attacks that took place after the NDA came to power at the centre. All of the following are post 2014 attacks that resulted in fatal casualties.
The Gurdaspur attack took place on the 27th of July, 2015. The attack resulted in the death of three civilians and four policemen, including a superintendent of police. Three terrorists who opened fire were also killed.
Two terror attacks took place in Pampore in 2016. One terrorist attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants occurred on the 25th of June, 2016, near the Frestabal area of Pampore on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway in Jammu and Kashmir. 8 soldiers died in the ambush.
A terrorist attack also took place in Assam’s Kokrajhar district in August 2016, where 14 people lost their lives. Another terror attack that made national headlines took place in Sukma, Chattisgarh. This attack by Maoists in September 2017 killed 25 CRPF jawans.
Looking at terror attacks holistically, the following chart clearly demonstrates that there have been a multitude of terror attacks over the past five years in India, resulting in the deaths of 1,202 civilians and 854 law enforcement and security personnel.
Conclusion: The facts clearly prove that there have been numerous allegations of corruption levelled against BJP ministers after the NDA came to power. There have also been a significant number of terrorist attacks in India. We therefore conclude that Modi’s claim is demonstrably false, and is simply electioneering bandwagon propaganda that is disproved by the actual facts.