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Rafale deal: Rahul Gandhi demands probe against PM, calls him 'corrupt person'

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Thursday demanded an investigation against on his role in the deal, alleging that he was a "corrupt man" who helped pocket Rs 30,000 crore in the purchase of 36

He also described Nirmala Sitharaman's ongoing three-day visit to as part of a "great cover-up".

Gandhi's allegations came a day after a report in French publication that said Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale, had to choose Ambani's firm as its offset in as a trade-off for getting the deal.

The government has been insisting it had no role in Dassault's choice of

"The reality is that the is corrupt. The of is a corrupt person, but he came to power on the promise of fighting corruption," Gandhi said at a press conference.

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

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

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

"Why has suddenly the rushed to What is the emergency?" he asked.

"The #GreatRafaleCoverUp has begun. To try and show the deal is legitimate, Raksha Mantri will need to generate minutes of imaginary meetings held between the French and our and both sides will need to agree on a common story to be spun to the media. RM left for last night," he added on

Asked about the purpose behind Sitharaman's France visit, Gandhi told reporters, "To put pressure on Dassault, to silence them and do a cover up. This is the logic."

The whole idea, he said, is to put pressure on The media was also being put under pressure, he added, asserting that the truth on the deal will come out and there was enough material for it.

Answering a question on why other parties were not joining him in speaking on the deal, Gandhi said whether he speaks or someone else, the real issue is that "the ex-of France - no less has said India's prime minister is corrupt".

Last month, French investigative publication Mediapart quoted former French as saying that France was given "no choice" on selection of Indian for and the proposed the Indian company's name.

On Wednesday, Mediapart, citing an internal document of Dassault Aviation, reported that the was forced to enter into a joint venture with as part of a trade-off to bag the contract for the 36 Rafale jet deal.

said in a statement that it has "freely chosen to make a partnership with India's Reliance Group".

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

" Compensation' for what, what has done? What is he being compensated for, that is the question?" the president asked.

Dassault, he said, is sitting on a huge contract and will say what the wants it to say.

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

"One thing is very clear... India's prime minister got the Rafale contract for Anil Ambani's company and this is not the only contract, some more defence contracts will come," he said, adding that questions will be raised on the entire defence contracts.

"So to India's youth, farmers, small shopkeepers and brothers and sisters, ji has done 'chowkidari' of and the truth is that he has given him a Rs 30,000 crore contract to save him and his business," Gandhi alleged.

On cases of corruption against Congress leaders and his own family, he said, the BJP is in government and can carry out any kind of investigation.

said in a statement that it has "freely chosen to make a partnership with India's Reliance Group".

"In compliance with the Indian regulations (Defence Procurement Procedure) and as frequent with such a contract, has committed to offsets in worth 50 per cent of the value of the purchase," it said in its reaction following the Mediapart report.

"In order to deliver some of these offsets, Dassault Aviation has decided to create a joint-venture. Dassault Aviation has freely chosen to make a partnership with India's Reliance Group," it said.

The Congress has been alleging irregularities in the deal, saying the government was procuring each at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore, against Rs 526 crore finalised by while negotiating procurement of 126 Rafale jets.

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

First Published: Thu, October 11 2018. 18:45 IST