National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said a purported Ministry of Defence note on Rafale indicated that then defence minister Manohar Parrikar had no knowledge of the progress in negotiations for the fighter jet deal.
He was reacting to a report in The Hindu which claimed the Defence Ministry had raised strong objections to "parallel discussions" conducted by the PMO during the negotiations over the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal between India and France. The purported note claimed it was clear that such parallel discussions had "weakened the negotiating position of MoD and Indian Negotiating Team".
"The then Defence Minister @manoharparrikar was clueless about the progress of negotiations. All he could say was ''IT APPEARS that @PMOIndia & French President's office are monitoring the progress''. He had no direct knowledge of progress & passed the buck back to the PMO," Abdullah said.
"How can he claim that ''para 5 is an over-reaction'' when he had no direct knowledge of the status or content of the negotiations? His act of passing the matter for the Def Sec to resolve with PMO clearly shows he had no grounds on which to base his ''over-reaction'' assessment," he said in a series of tweets.
How can he claim that “para 5 is an over-reaction” when he had no direct knowledge of the status or content of the negotiations? His act of passing the matter for the Def Sec to resolve with PMO clearly shows he had no grounds on which to base his “over-reaction” assessment.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 8, 2019
Earlier, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir had said he would like to see how those aligned with the BJP would explain the fresh news report on the deal.
"I''d like to see how this one is explained by the talking heads aligned to the BJP. @PMOIndia ''weakened the negotiating position of the Ministry of Defence & the Indian Negotiating Team'' as per this note in a MOD file that went up the the Defence Minister," he claimed.
The National Conference was an ally of NDA when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister but shifted to UPA-II in 2009.