Days after it released an audio clip of a purported conversation between two ministers on the Rafale deal, the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee on Saturday wrote a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking enhanced security cover for Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
“There may be attempts on his life to obtain files from those who want that details of Rafale deal should not come in public domain as corruption in the deal will be proved,” the letter mentioned.
Letter to ?@rashtrapatibhvn? for enhancing security cover to ??@manoharparrikar? as there is possible threat & attempts can be made to obtain Rafale files from ?@goacm? bedroom in view of VishwajeetRane #RafaleAudioLeak
— Girish Chodankar (@girishgoa) January 5, 2019
In the tape, released by Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Tuesday, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane is purportedly heard saying that during a Goa Cabinet meeting last week, Parrikar had stated that he had an entire file and all documents relating to the Rafale deal lying in his bedroom.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had later accused the CM of blackmailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard. “The tape clearly shows Parrikar has Rafale files in his house. There might be other tapes of this nature. The entire Cabinet heard what Parrikar said. He is blackmailing the PM with the information he has,” he had alleged at a press conference.
The BJP refuted the Opposition’s claims and said the tape was manufactured by the Congress. Parrikar, on the other hand, said the audio tape was “doctored” and it was a desperate attempt by the Congress to fabricate facts.
Rane also wrote to BJP president Amit Shah, claiming the audio was doctored and he never had any discussion on this subject with anyone.
However, several senior BJP leaders The Indian Express spoke to admitted that the “damage has been done” ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Former Goa CM and state BJP core committee member Laxmikant Parsekar said these were “difficult and challenging times for the BJP” after the release of the tape. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo avoided commenting on the tape but warned that the bickering within could hurt the party