The Hindu has once again lived up to its reputation of being the daily that is committed to social causes and public values in keeping with the highest norms of journalistic ethics (Page 1, ‘Exclusive’, “Government waived anti-corruption clauses in Rafale deal”, February 11). The criticism by a section of readers — who are questioning the credibility of the daily in exposing irregularities in the Rafale deal — has been harsh and in bad taste. That said, it needs to be understood that the signatories to the inter-governmental agreement are the sovereign governments of France and India. The non-inclusion of the standard DPP clauses has to be viewed in this light. Although anti-corruption clauses were waived, there is no clinching evidence of the involvement of middlemen or illegal gratification. The supposed irregularities appear to be procedural rather than financial.
There is a popular saying, “Three things cannot be hidden for long: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” The new disclosures (February 11) make it crystal clear that there is some hidden agenda behind the government’s negotiation of the Rafale deal. The government has to give credible answers to many unanswered questions.
Some readers’ charges of the daily being biased in its reporting are incorrect. The investigative journalism has revealed the intricacies of the deal. Despite criticism by some readers, there are still lakhs of faithful readers across the country whose morning cup of coffee is never complete without The Hindu.
I often used to wonder why the paper never pursued investigative journalism in the recent past but have been pleasantly surprised with the ‘Rafale revelation series’. The deal is dodgy: from escalating prices, anti-corruption clauses being waived, sovereign guarantee being bypassed, parallel negotiations taking place, Parliament and the Supreme Court being misled, a private firm being favoured over a public sector giant, to, finally, demands for a JPC being evaded. It’s a pity that there are some who are either ignorant or keen on showing implicit partisanship to the ruling party and unable to make sensible arguments when there is damning evidence.
It may not be an exaggeration to say that The Hindu has been anti-BJP for quite some time now while choosing to not even whisper about Congress governments that have been corruption-tainted and ruining India. The daily does not seem to have the magnanimity to appreciate the well-meaning programmes of the present government. In contrast, the Indian National Congress party has done precious little despite decades of rule. The fact is that the Rafale defence deal is certainly not Bofors. The paper is only playing into the hands of the Opposition, which is bent on maligning the otherwise unblemished and eventful tenure of the NDA.