“Nothing To Do With New Rafale Deal, Manohar Parrikar Said”: Rahul Gandhi
Kochi: Hours after a “personal visit” to Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar at his office in Panaji, Congress President Rahul Gandhi today claimed that the former Defence Minister had clearly stated he had nothing to do with the “new deal” on Rafale fighter jets, and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Friends, the ex-defence minister Mr Parrikar clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the new deal that was orchestrated by Mr Narendra Modi to benefit Anil Ambani,” news agency PTI quoted Rahul Gandhi telling booth-level party workers in Kochi in Kerala.
Rahul Gandhi, however, did not clarify whether the Rafale deal was discussed during his meet with Mr Parrikar, who has been extremely unwell over the past few months with a pancreatic condition.
The Congress in Goa had earlier today said that Mr Gandhi did not raise the Rafale deal with Mr Parrikar.
Mr Gandhi’s visit to Mr Parrikar came a day after the Congress chief tweeted about “explosive Rafale secrets that gave the Goa Chief Minister power over the PM”. The Congress president has been asking for an inquiry into audio tapes that he says reveal that Manohar Parrikar has files on the Rafale jet deal and so has leverage over his leadership.
The Congress claims to have an audio recording of a Goa minister quoting Mr Parrikar as saying that files related to the Rafale jet deal were “in his bedroom”. Mr Parrikar, who was defence minister before becoming Goa chief minister in 2017, had tweeted that the audio clip was a “desperate attempt to fabricate facts”. The minister supposedly on tape, Vishwajit Rane, also alleged that it was doctored.
The Congress claimed that Mr Parrikar, who was defence minister when the deal for 36 Rafale jets was signed between India and France, had said at a meeting of the Goa cabinet that no one could remove him as “all the Rafale papers are in my flat, in my bedroom”. Vishwajit Rane, the Goa health minister, is on tape relating this conversation, claimed the Congress.
The Supreme Court has said there is no reason to doubt the decision-making process in the Rafale deal, delivering a huge reprieve to the government amid Congress allegations of corruption in the Rs. 59,000-crore contract.