Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday continued his attack on the Modi government over the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal saying that Manohar Parrikar, the former Defence Minister, wasn't even aware of the contract being changed from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to Reliance Defence's hands.
Gandhi said, "He didn't know about it. He was buying fish in the markets of Goa when the deal was taking place."
Gandhi said, "I have a statement from France's ex-president which says "we did not have a say in this matter, it is Indian government that decided to give the contract to Anil Ambani, we did not have a choice."
Calling for a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Hollande's statement, Rahul Gandhi said, "For the first time, an ex-French President is calling our PM a thief."
#WATCH: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says on #RafaleDeal, "the former Defence Minister (Manohar Parrikar) said that when the contract was changed, he didn't know about it. He was buying fish in the markets of Goa" pic.twitter.com/1y3t3Dx7jX
Continuing his tirade against the Prime Minister, Gandhi said, "It's the question of Prime Minister's dignity, it's the question of future of jawans, army and soldiers, it's a question of defence. There was a one-on-one meeting between French president and Prime Minister Modi and in the meeting, the French president was told that the contract will go to Anil Ambani. Now, people know that Desh Ka Chowkidar Chor Hai (Country's watchman is the thief)."
Launching a blistering attack on Prime Minister Modi, the Congress president said, "France had said in the meeting that price is not a secret and Indian government can tell the price to anybody it wants to and yet the defence minister did not say anything. Anil Ambani created a company 12 days before the deal. They snatched the contract from HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). Why are these people lying? Who are they protecting? Nirmala Sitharaman, Manohar Parrikar and Arun Jaitley did not sign the contract. Narendra Modi signed it, and they are all lying to protect Prime Minister Modi."
Gandhi further said, "You (Youth) trusted Narendra Modi and he gave the contract to Anil Ambani. Prime Minister Modi has taken money from your pockets, from the pockets our jawans and their families' pockets and put it in Ambani's pocket. People believed Narendra Modi who gave Rs 30,000 crore contract to Anil Ambani who has never flown an aircraft. Modi has broken your trust."
Earlier, in a tweet, he said Modi had betrayed India’s soul with “clear-cut corruption” in the contract.
The PM and Anil Ambani jointly carried out ...SURGICAL STRIKE on the Indian Defence forces. Modi Ji you dishonoured the blood of our martyred soldiers. Shame on you. You betrayed India's soul (sic)," Gandhi tweeted.
Rahul's renewed attack on Modi came a day after a French media report quoted former French president Francois Hollande as purportedly saying that the Indian government proposed Ambani's Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale jet fighter deal and France did not have a choice. But contradicting Hollande's statement, the French government later said it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the Rafale deal, asserting that French companies have the full freedom to select Indian firms for the contract.
PM Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets for Rs 58,000 crore after holding talks with then French President Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris.
The opposition party has been accusing the government of choosing Reliance Defence over state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to benefit the private firm though it did not have any experience in the aerospace sector.
Rahul does not the technical matter. He is attacking PM meaningless. GOI has no right to propose the business partner. It is duty of French Govt. to propose his partner for their selling the parts to purshager. Rahul gandhi is feeling fish out of water.