Hours after Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “middleman” for Anil Ambani, Reliance Defence responded saying the “proposed MoU” mentioned in a purported email cited by Congress president was a reference to its cooperation with Airbus Helicopter and had “no connection” with the fighter jet contract.
The Congress chief on Tuesday accused PM Modi of ‘treason and breaking the Official Secrets Act’. “By leaking information on the Rafale MoU in advance to Anil Ambani, the PM has broken the Official Secrets Act and compromised National Security, opening himself up to criminal prosecution,” Rahul said.
“Purported email being referred by the Congress Party is regarding the discussion between Airbus and Reliance Defence regarding Civil & Defence Helicopter Programs under ‘Make in India’,” a Reliance Defence spokesperson said in a statement.
“The discussion on proposed MoU was clearly with reference to cooperation between Airbus Helicopter and Reliance. It had no connection whatsoever with Government to Government Agreement between France and India for 36 Rafale aircraft,” the spokesperson added.
Gandhi’s statement came after a report published by The Indian Express stated that Anil Ambani met French defence officials before the PM announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France.
“Anil Ambani knows about the biggest defence deal in the world but the defence minister and foreign secretary don’t. Only the Prime Minister can answer.”
The Indian Express report stated that Ambani met then French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s office in Paris and had a meeting with his top advisors, in the fourth week of March 2015, about a fortnight before PM Modi announced the Rafale deal. The meeting was attended by Le Drian’s special advisor Jean-Claude Mallet; his industry advisor, Christophe Salomon; and his technical advisor for industrial affairs, Geoffrey Bouquot. Ambani’s meeting was described by Salomon to a top official of a European defence company as “confidential and planned as you can imagine with very short notice”.
Quoting The Hindu report, the Congress chief said, “Every defence deal has an anti-corruption clause. Reports suggest that the PM removed the anti-corruption clause. It is clear that the PM facilitated loot.”
Taking to Twitter, he wrote, “NoMo anti-corruption clause. The Chowkidar himself opened the door to allow Anil Ambani to steal 30,000 Cr. from the IAF.”