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Rafale: Oppn leaders slam 'parallel negotiations' by PMO; Kejriwal demands 'independent CBI raid'

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Attacking the for alleged "parallel negotiations" in the deal, opposition leaders on Friday asked the government to come clean on objections raised by the at that time with going to the extent of demanding an "independent" CBI raid to seize all related files and arrest everyone involved.

Latching on to an article in newspaper, which claimed that the had raised strong objections to "parallel discussions" conducted by the PMO during negotiations for the Rs 59,000-crore fighter jet deal between and France, the opposition leaders also raised questions on the role of

Nirmala Sitharaman, however, dismissed the media report as "flogging a dead horse" and accused the opposition of playing into the hands of multinational companies and vested interests. She also said that periodical enquiries by the PMO cannot be construed as interference.

Reacting to the report, former minister tweeted, "I'd like to see how this one is explained by the talking heads aligned to the BJP. @PMOIndia 'weakened the negotiating position of the & the Indian Negotiating Team' as per this note in a MOD file that went up the the "

Abdullah's National Conference was an ally of NDA when was the prime minister, but shifted to UPA-II in 2009.

CPI(M) alleged that Modi has consistently undermined the and the to benefit his "cronies" in the deal.

"Modi has consistently undermined the & Defence Ministry in the deal for corruption, to benefit his cronies. His actions have hurt the public exchequer & damaged national security. These facts have been hidden from where a review petition is pending," Yechury tweeted.

"The PM must take responsibility for the loss to the exchequer, violation of procedure to get far fewer fighter jets than what wanted. All just to help cronies," the (Marxist) said.

supremo and Minister Kejriwal demanded CBI raid on PMO and arrests in connection with Rafale fighter jet deal.

"In the light of today's expose on Rafale, "independent" CBI should raid PMO, seize all the files related to Rafale and make arrests just like they raided my office and residence and commissioner," he tweeted.

also used the media report, quoting notes in an MoD file, to fire a fresh salvo at the and alleged the PMO was directly involved in negotiations with the French side on the Rafale deal and that it was guilty in the alleged scam.

"I want to speak to every member of the armed forces of this nation... Here, it is absolutely clear that the prime minister has stolen Rs 30,000 crore of your money, bypassed a process, and given it to his friend Mr Anil Ambani," Gandhi said at a press conference calling the deal as an "open and shut case".

The BJP, howe3ver, described Gandhi's allegations against Modi as "yet another lie from his lie-manufacturing factory" and accused the of working at the behest of foreign forces for cancellation of the fighter deal.

Gandhi and his party have often alleged that got benefits from the Rafale deal by being made an offset partner. However, the business house has these denied allegations.

Another senior demanded that a JPC be formed to look into the deal and it should submit its report before the general elections, which are expected to take place in April-May.

"Not one has come to and this is for the first time in history that the process of defence acquisition has been bypassed and a parallel negotiation has taken place," he alleged.

MK told reporters that Modi's actions in the deal was akin to contempt of court.

"PM Modi has come under the Supreme Court's contempt. In its sealed envelope to SC, centre never mentioned PMO's negotiations. Never ever in independent India, a Prime Minister was caught in such serious allegations," he alleged.

In a cryptic tweet, brought all the concerns of the opposition parties -- from deaths to the Rafale deal.

"Let us vow that we will #NeverAgain let people die waiting in line to withdraw money from a bank, fall for the 15 lakh rupee lie, allow farmers to kill themselves, let national security enrich the famous few, let people be killed for their beliefs, let two and half men rule us.

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

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 18:05 IST