NEW DELHI: The Congress onslaught against the government over Rafale deal continued on Tuesday, with the party using an Arabian Nights fable to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ministers.
“We have heard about ‘Alibaba and chaalis chor (forty thieves)’. When will ‘Modi baba and chaalis chor’ come clean on the Rafale deal?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked. He accused the Centre of taking away 22,000 jobs from HAL which would have come to the public sector unit had it got the offset contract that went to private sector Reliance.
“Modiji you should clarify if you’re the PM of Ambani or the people of India,” said Surjewala. Congress president Rahul Gandhi vowed to ensure justice ‘for the IAF and the HAL’. “To every Air Force officer and Jawan who has served India.
To the family of every martyred Indian fighter pilot. To every person who ever worked for HAL. We hear your pain. We understand how you feel. We will bring to justice all those who dishonoured and stole from you,” he tweeted. Senior leader Kapil Sibal questioned the move to allow 49 per cent FDI through automatic route in the defence sector in June 2016, months before signing the inter-governmental agreement and the offset agreement on Rafale. Slamming Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for saying that HAL did not have the capacity to make Rafale jets, Sibal cited the remarks of its former chairperson T Suvarna Raju negating the minister’s point.
Hitting back, the BJP alleged that Rafale documents were recovered from the residence of arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, a ‘close friend’ of Rahul’s brotherin- law Rabert Vadra. “Rafale documents were recovered from Robert Vadra’s close friend Sanjay Bhandari during a raid in 2016 at his house. How did these confidential documents reach there? Bhandari’s company ‘offset India solutions’ was red flagged in 2014 by the Modi government,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
June 2016: Govt allows 49% FDI through automatic route; foreign firms no longer need prior approval from the government in defence sector
Aug 24, 2016: Cabinet Committee on Security approves the new deal for 36 Rafale jets under intergovernmental agreement
Sept 23, 2016: The intergovernmental agreement and offset agreement signed
Oct 3, 2016: Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Dassault Aviation form joint venture with 51% and 49% stakes
Oct 3, 2017: Dassault and Reliance lay foundation stone for a manufacturing facility in Nagpur