The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday stopped the release of a book on the controversial Rafale deal, citing an apparent violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) before the Lok Sabha poll.
The release of the book was to be chaired by N. Ram, the Managing Director of the Hindu group. It is to be noted that Ram has himself written many news reports on the deal for French-made fighter jets.
Sources said that 148 copies of the book were seized from the book author's office. The book titled "Rafale: The Scam That Rocked The Nation" is written by S Vijayan. The publisher of the book wanted to release the book at a school but the school authorities denied permission citing the objection from the EC.
The publisher, Bharati Publication, then decided to release the book in its office, but the books were seized by a flying squad of election officers and the Teynampet police.
N Ram has slammed the EC's decision, saying it was anti-democratic and illegal. He stressed that the EC's order is aimed at curbing the freedom of speech and of the press. N Ram argued that the release of the book was not going to violate the model code of conduct and said that he will approach the court seeking the release of book.
Activist and noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan has expressed displeasure over EC's decision to ban the book on Rafale. He said that the poll panel allows movie on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and allows PM Modi to use AIR and Doordarshan for election speech on anti satellite missile but has decided to ban the book on Rafale.
"EC bans book on Rafale scam & seizes copies, citing Model Code of Conduct! EC allows propaganda movie on Modi, allows Modi to use AIR&DD for election speech on Anti satellite missile, allows misuse of of Railways&advertisement money by govt for elections, but bans book on Rafale!," he tweeted.
EC bans book on Rafale scam & seizes copies, citing Model Code of Conduct! EC allows propaganda movie on Modi, allows Modi to use AIR&DD for election speech on Anti satellite missile, allows misuse of of Railways&advertisement money by govt for elections, but bans book on Rafale! https://t.co/ePz5KL2Nta
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) April 2, 2019
It is to be noted that Supreme Court is currently hearing a batch of petitions seeking review of a judgement passed by the apex court on December 14 on Rafale fighter jet deal in which the SC had refused to order a probe into the deal for procuring 36 Rafale jets from France.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had favoured industrialist Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal allowing him to earn Rs 30,000 crore, while the government has rejected Gandhi's claim maintaining that the deal is completely corruption-free.