Facing a volley of questions on the Rafale row at an event in Ahmedabad on Saturday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that whenever one thinks of the Congress, corruption comes to mind.
She said, “I wanted to tell in Parliament that we do not have any connection or relation with AA (Anil Ambani), but Q (Ottavio Quattrocchi) is an uncle and RV (Robert Vadra) is brother-in-law (of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi), still…”
Quattrocchi was one of the alleged middlemen in the Bofors deal.
The Defence Minister made the comments at a event titled ‘India’s National Security and Importance of Rafale deal’, organised here by the Bharatiya Vichar Manch and Delhi-based Foundation for Public Awareness and Policy.
Asked for her reaction on Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has helped Anil Ambani get benefits in the Rafale deal, Sitharaman said, “The first Rafale (plane) will come only in September 2019. In the matter of offsets, they (Dassault Aviation) have not conveyed anything to us officially. Till the time they do not give us officially, how can we say whom them have tied up with for offset…. I do not know where they (Congress) are getting their information from. The government does not officially have any record.”
At another event in the city, Sitharaman said that the defence ministry is probing into the issue of Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) after receiving several complaints of alleged fraudulent activities. At a function organised by the BJP for ex-servicemen, Sitharaman said since the hospitals are under inquiry, the beneficiaries are facing difficulties.