A day after Rahul Gandhi claimed that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar denied having anything to do with the new Rafale fighter jet deal, a top state government official today accused the Congress president of being a "compulsive liar".
Mr Gandhi had met the 63-year-old Goa Chief Minister, who is suffering from a serious ailment, on Tuesday. He later said during a meeting with booth-level party workers in Kochi that Mr Parrikar had clearly denied any involvement in the Rafale fighter jet deal, allegedly "orchestrated" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "benefit" Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani.
"This guy is a compulsive liar. He came saying that he wants to convey his and his mother's wishes for a speedy recovery. The CM met him out of decency. Now he shamelessly lies about him -- a person who is fighting cancer without compromising on his commitments to his people. Disgusting," tweeted Prasanna Karthik, Officer on Special Duty to Mr Parrikar.
Mr Parrikar was the Union Defence Minister when the fighter jet deal was altered in 2015.
Goa Minister for Animal Husbandry Mauvin Godinho voiced a similar criticism, saying that Mr Gandhi should not try to gain political mileage out of personal meetings. "One should realise that when you come to enquire about a person's health, it should be limited to just that. He should not try to capitalise on that, then say something to the contrary. When one-on-one meetings take place between two people, so many things can be said about each other," Mr Godinho told news agency ANI.
The Congress president alleged at the Kochi meeting that the deal was single-handedly orchestrated by PM Modi, denying thousands of young Indians across the country high-paying jobs with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. He also cited French President Francois Hollande's statement last year to claim that the Union government had left Dassault Aviation no choice but to pick Reliance Aviation as its offset partner.
He repeated the allegation in his speech at Delhi's Talkatora today. "When I met Parrikarji on Tuesday, he clearly told me that the Prime Minister had not sought his opinion while altering the Rafale deal," the Congress president said.
On December 14, the Supreme Court had dismissed all petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the Rafale deal with France, saying that there was no reason to doubt the decision-making process. The top court also refused to explore the issue of pricing.
(With inputs from ANI)
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal