Prime Minister Narendra Modi's allegation - that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had used the Navy's aircraft carrier INS Viraat as a personal taxi for going on a family vacation - has been strongly rebutted by the Congress. It is PM Modi, the Congress said, who uses Air Force jets as his "own taxi", paying "as low as Rs 744" for trips during the election. The Prime Minister, the party said, is "scared' of his "own sins" and is pointing fingers at others.
Citing a media report at a press conference today, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "You have made Indian Air Force jets your own taxi! You have paid as low as Rs 744 for using IAF jets for election trips!" Mr Surjewala said.
The media report, based on an RTI, said the BJP paid Rs 1.4 crore to the IAF for 240 "non-official domestic trips" made by PM Modi since the start of his tenure as prime minister till January 2019. "In some cases, the amount paid seemed to be quite low. For example, the BJP paid Rs 744 for a trip by PM Modi on January 15, 2019," the report said.
At a rally in Delhi yesterday, PM Modi had said "Rajiv Gandhi and his family" had used the aircraft carrier INS Viraat to go on a vacation.
Even his in-laws were on board, he said, and that "Navy personnel were put on service of Rajiv Gandhi and his family while they were vacationing at the island". INS Viraat, he said, "was also stationed at the island for 10 days during that time".
The Congress's Pawan Khera said retired Vice Admiral Vinod Pasricha has clarified that Rajiv Gandhi was on an official visit on INS Viraat and not on a vacation. "But facts don't matter to Modi. He doesn't have anything to talk about his own achievements," he said.