Congress president Rahul Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of altering the Rafale deal to help Reliance ADA Group chairman Anil Ambani after former French president Francois Hollande said that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the offset partner and gave France no say in the matter.
Taking to Twitter, the Congress chief said, “The PM personally negotiated and changed the #Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani. The PM has betrayed India. He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers.”
The political slugfest over the controversial multi-billion dollar deal escalated after a French media report quoted Hollande as saying “we did not have a say in this…the Indian government proposed this service group and Dassault negotiated with (Anil) Ambani group. We did not have a choice, we took the partner who was given to us.”
The Defence Ministry, however, denied the report and reiterated that neither the government nor the French government had any role in the decision. The ministry’s spokesperson’s said, “The report referring to former French president Hollande’s statement that government of India insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified”.
Stepping up the attack against the government, former finance minister P Chidambaram asked what would be the “new lie that the government will put out in response to Mr Hollande”.
“Defence Minister has been called out again! This time by then President of France, Mr Hollande. In the NDA negotiated Rafale aircraft deal, we have got no aircraft, we have got only lies. What is the new lie that the government will put out in response to Mr Hollande?” the Congress leader tweeted.
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal also joined the opposition in targetting the government over the deal. On the micro-blogging site, Kejriwal alleged that the prime minister was putting the national security at risk by hiding crucial facts related to the deal. “By hiding crucial facts on Rafale deal, is Modi govt not endangering national security? Former French President’s statement directly contradicts what Modi govt had been saying so far. Can the country be taken for a ride any further?” the Delhi Chief Minister said.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari tweeted, “President (Former) Francois Hollande should also enlighten us how the price went up from 590 crore in 2012 to 1690 crore in 2015 per Rafale fighter jet? Escalation of a mere 1100 crore. I am sure the Euro equivalent would not be a problem to calculate.”