scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Sunday, September 20, 2020

Absolutely convinced PM is ‘corrupt’, he must clarify: Rahul Gandhi on Rafale issue

His attack on PM Modi comes a day after a French media report quoted ex-French president Francois Hollande as saying that the Indian government proposed Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rafale jet fighter deal and France did not have a choice.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 22, 2018 10:19:36 pm
Absolutely convinced that PM of India is 'corrupt', he must clarify: Rahul Gandhi on Rafale issue Congress chief Rahul Gandhi addresses the media in the national capital on Saturday.

Stepping up his attack on the BJP-led central government over the Rafale issue, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “corrupt” and asked him to clarify his stance on the controversy raging over the purchase of 36 French-manufactured aircraft.

“We are absolutely convinced that the Prime Minister of India is corrupt. This question is now clearly settled in the mind of the Indian people that ‘desh ka chowkidaar’ chor hai,” Gandhi said while addressing a presser in New Delhi.

His renewed swipe at PM Modi comes a day after a French media report quoted former French president Francois Hollande as saying that the Indian government had “proposed” Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rafale jet fighter deal and France did not have a choice.

“We didn’t have a say in that. It was the Indian government that proposed this service group (Reliance), and Dassault who negotiated with Ambani. We didn’t have a choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us,” Hollande was quoted by French news website Mediapart.fr on the offset contract.

Read | By calling PM Modi ‘corrupt’, Rahul Gandhi has smeared black paint on his face, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

The former French President’s remarks contradict the Indian government’s claim that the deal between Dassault and Reliance was a commercial pact between two private parties and the government had nothing to do with it.

Hollande was responding to The Indian Express news report referred by Mediapart that Ambani’s Reliance entertainment had co-produced a French film Tout La-Haut with his partner Julie Gayet when India and France were negotiating the Rafale deal, “That’s why, on the other hand, this group (Reliance) did not have to give me any thanks for anything. I couldn’t even imagine that there was any connection to a film by Julie Gayet.”

READ | Rafale offset: Govt denied role but ex-French President Hollande says, ‘Indian Govt proposed Reliance, had no choice’

“It is very important for PM now to either accept Mr. Hollande’s statement or state that Mr. Hollande is lying and tell what the truth is,” the Congress president said. “For the first time, an ex-French President is calling our PM a thief. It is a question of the dignity of the office of Prime Minister. It is the question of the future of our jawans and the Air Force.”

“Ex-President of France has made a statement about the PM of India. He says with regard to Rafale contract, ‘we didn’t have any say in this matter. It’s the Indian govt that proposed’. Now, the Prime Minister should clarify on his statement,” Gandhi added.

The Congress president also demanded a probe into the matter by a joint parliamentary committee. He said ex-French president Hollande can also be called for the investigation.

ALSO READ | Not involved in choosing Indian partners in Rafale deal: French government

In a Twitter response Friday to Hollande’s remarks, the Ministry of Defence had said: “The report referring to fmr French president Mr. Hollande’s statement that GOI insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified. It is reiterated that neither GoI nor French Govt had any say in the commercial decision.”

The deal for 36 Rafale aircraft in a government-to-government agreement was announced by Prime Minister Modi on April 10, 2015 during his visit to Paris, which led to the cancellation of the 126 aircraft deal being negotiated by the previous government. The deal was eventually signed on September 23, 2016 in Delhi between then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, have alleged that undue favours had been granted to Ambani’s firm in this deal, a company without any defence manufacturing experience.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App.

0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement