You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Rafale deal: Rahul demands probe against PM; BJP accuses Cong chief of lying

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A report by a French publication on selection of Indian in the deal triggered a fresh round of fierce attack and counter-attack between the and the BJP with alleging was "corrupt" and demanding a probe into his role in the jet procurement.

Strongly countering Gandhi's charges, the BJP accused the of "lying through his teeth shamelessly" and indulging in "of misinformation" to build his political career.

Calling him a "clown prince", the BJP alleged that the belonged to a "family of middlemen" with his father and former being "officially a middleman" in a defence deal.

The political offensive came a day after some reports, citing French publication Mediapart, said an internal document of showed that the manufacturer of had to choose Ambani's firm as its offset in as a trade-off for getting the deal.

On a visit to France, said in that offset obligations for the deal is mandatory but not the names of the companies.

In a statement, also said it has "freely chosen to make a partnership with Reliance Group, as it rejected the report by French publication Mediapart.

The latest report followed former French Francois Hollande's comments last month that was given "no choice" on selection of the Indian for and the proposed the name of the Indian company. Hollande was French when the deal was sealed.

At a press conference, Gandhi also described Nirmala Sitharaman's ongoing three-day visit to as part of a "great cover-up".

"The reality is that the is corrupt. The prime minister of is a corrupt person, but he came to power on the promise of fighting corruption," Gandhi told reporters.

"... in the Rafale contract. the prime minister has indulged in clear-cut corruption and there should be an investigation on it," he said.

Questioning Modi's silence on the issue, Gandhi said, "It is clear there is pressure. If he is unable to respond, he should resign."

The Congress president, however, did not provide any evidence to back his allegations against the prime minister.

Rejecting his allegations, hours later alleged at his press conference that the Congress comes from "a family of middlemen" and his his father and former prime minister was "officially a middleman" in a defence deal.

While the Opposition has been attacking the Modi dispensation over the multi-billion dollar Rafale deal, the government has been maintaining it had no role in Dassault's choice of

sources said Sitharaman's visit to was pre-scheduled and it has nothing to do with the Rafale controversy.

"Why has suddenly the rushed to What is the emergency?" Gandhi asked and claimed the purpose of the visit was "to put pressure on Dassault, to silence them and do a cover up".

"This is the logic," the Congress said.

Gandhi claimed a senior Dassault has said India's prime minister pushed the contract and now both Hollande and Dassault are saying the Indian prime minister has said that "without this compensation, this deal cannot be done".

The Congress reiterated his charge that Modi is Ambani's "chowkidaar', and not of the country.

Rebutting the charges, Patra counter-alleged that it was Gandhi family that made money from every defence deal till 2014 and has not been able to come out of that mindset.

Patra said the BJP stands with the truth and accused Gandhi of making a mockery of national security. He also said the Chief has recently described the purchase of the fighter as a "game-changer".

Patra also read out from a statement of Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of Rafale fighter aircraft, to claim that Gandhi inserted "Reliance" deliberately where the firm has spoken about its commitment to offset purchase from

The BJP further said the has also dismissed a PIL (public interest litigation) that had questioned the aircraft's price and sought the deal cancelled.

He said the people will decide whether to believe Gandhi or the and the Chief.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, October 11 2018. 21:55 IST