Rahul's campaign against Rafale deal based on commercial interest: BJP

Referring to the documents cited in the report, Prasad asked why the name of a leading family, namely the Gandhis, appeared in documents related to AgustaWestland or the air force's fighter planes.

Published: 07th January 2019 08:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th January 2019 08:43 PM   |  A+A-

Union IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. (File photo | EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The BJP Monday accused Rahul Gandhi of lying on the Rafale issue, claiming that the Congress chief's campaign on the fighter jet deal was based on "pure commercial interest" and influenced by middlemen.

The Congress has unleashed an "entire campaign of canard" over the Rafale deal, senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Citing a report, he said, "A media house has come up with documents which reveal that the same middlemen who were pushing for the case for AgustaWestland, one of them being under arrest, were also pushing the case for Eurofighter, which was in competition with Rafale."

Several companies including those from the US, Russia and Sweden, were also in contention before the deal for fighter jets to be procured the Indian Air Force went in favour of French aircraft major Dassault, which makes the Rafale plane.

READ: Government weakening HAL to benefit Anil Ambani: Rahul Gandhi on Rafale deal

The papers seized from Italian middleman Guido Haschke during a raid reveal that he and Christian Michel worked on a plan to place Rafale's prime competitor in the "win zone", the Union law minister claimed.

Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case who was extradited from Dubai recently, was on Saturday sent to judicial custody by a court here.

He was arrested by the ED on December 22 in a money-laundering charges in a scam.

Michel was earlier lodged in the Tihar Jail here in a related CBI case.

Michel is among the three alleged middlemen being probed in the case by the ED and the CBI.

The others are Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

Referring to the documents cited in the report, Prasad asked why the name of a leading family, namely the Gandhis, appeared in documents related to AgustaWestland or the air force's fighter planes.

"The available documents in the public domain raise serious suspicion of intention of Rahul Gandhi and the Congress. It is too well known that the Congress is never happy unless there is a deal in a defence deal," he said.

The minister alleged that it is evident that there was a close proximity of a middleman who was pushing the case for Eurofighter against Rafale.

"In this light, the entire bogie of falsehood, entire campaign of canard unleashed by Rahul Gandhi is completely false and based upon pure commercial interest," he said.

Prasad asked the Congress chief to explain what proximity he and his family had with Michel and how a middleman was sure that with his influence the deal will be tilted in the favour of Eurofighter.

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