- There is dissent within the government on the Rafale deal: Rahul Gandhi
- He reiterated that Mr Parrikar denied any involvement in the Rafale deal
- He also said Alok Verma was removed as he wanted to probe Rafale deal
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today continued the attack on the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale deal and said there is dissent within the government on the matter, over which the Prime Minister was "losing sleep".
"I asked three or four questions on Rafale.. He looked here, there, everywhere but the watchman could not look me in the eye," Mr Gandhi told his audience at a party meeting at Delhi's Talkatora Stadium.
The reference was to a debate on the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, during which the Congress chief spoke at length on the aircraft deal with France. Mr Gandhi made the allegation soon after, saying, "One who committed theft could not look me in the eye".
Refering to former CBI chief Alok Verma, Mr Gandhi said he was removed as he wanted to probe the Rafale deal.
"At 1.30 in the night, he was removed. The Air Force is alleging that they have also been bypassed during the deal. The Bureaucrats are alleging that Modi had favoured Ail Ambani... stolen Rs 30,000 crore belonging to the public," he said.
Mr Gandhi also reiterated yesterday's allegation that former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said he was not consulted when the Rafale deal was changed.
"Parrikar-ji told me that when the deal was changed, the Prime Minister did not get the country's defence minister on board," Mr Gandhi said, pointing to it as another example of a "dissent" within the government.
"Whether it is the Goa cabinet or the CBI... there is dissent within the government... Modi-ji, I know you are having sleepless nights... The Congress made you confront the reality," Mr Gandhi said.
His comments have raised hackles in Goa. Today Mr Parrikar wrote to the Congress chief, accusing him of using his visit for political gains. In the letter, Mr Parrikar said he was battling with a "life threatening disease" and Rahul Gandhi visited him without any prior information.
The government has entered a 36-aircraft deal with Rafale, which the Congress alleges, is far overpriced compared to the 126-aircraft deal negotiated by the UPA government, to help Anil Ambani's rookie defence firm.
The party has said Mr Parrikar was kept out of the loop during the changed deal and Nirmala Sitharaman, who took charge of the defence portfolio after him, has lied in parliament about the issue.
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