Launching a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Rafale, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the prime minister of running "parallel negotiations" with the French side. "For more than a year, we've been saying that PM is directly involved in Rafale scam. Today it is clear that PM himself had been carrying out a parallel negotiation with the French," Mr Gandhi said at a press briefing in New Delhi.
The presser was called after The Hindu, in its report, claimed the Defence Ministry had expressed strong reservations to the "parallel negotiations" conducted by the Prime Minister's Office with France on the multi-billion dollar deal. The note - dated November 24, 2015 - that was reportedly brought to the attention of then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the position taken by the PMO was "contradictory to the stand taken by Defence Ministry and the negotiating team."
The strongly-worded note, prepared by then Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar, further states that "it is desirable that such discussions be avoided by the PMO as it undermines our negotiating position seriously."
The report provides fresh ammo to the opposition Congress which has relentlessly attacked the Modi government of signing an overpriced deal for 36 Rafale jets to help industrialist Anil Ambani.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.
Here are the latest developments in the Rafale jet deal controversy:
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
- Please see the then defence minister statements... See how this publication conveniently chooses not to quote the then defence minister. I am sorry to say, but this is selective journalism... to present a story in a manner, just to get reactions.... We condemn such irresponsible and slanderous journalism.
- The least a media organization can do is get its facts right. To find out all the details before publishing a report. This is very unfortunate.
- As for the PMO following up with the defence ministry is concerned, does the PM's Office asking for regular updates from a ministry to ensure timely work called interference?
- Interference is what Sonia Gandhi did with not just all the ministries, but the PMO too. That is what is called interference.
- And lastly, look at the kind of language and intent Rahul Gandhi has stooped to... Calling the PM Chor, and me all sorts of names was one thing... but today he was trying to create a divide between the armed forces and the country's leadership... between the service chiefs and the prime minister... This is deplorable. We expect better from the Congress and Rahul Gandhi.
- It is a shame that he was trying to instigate the country's armed forces against the countries prime minister.
- Modi government can do any inquiry they want on any of the Congress leaders. We are ready to face it. But he should do an inquiry on Rafale scam too
- Yesterday, Mr. Modi gave a lengthy sermon, why doesn't he answer these questions? Why doesn't he state the reason for parallel negotiations?
- Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too lied. Former French President has admitted that he was made to choose Anil Ambani by PM Modi himself
- Defence Secretary of India says, "It is desirable that such discussions be avoided by the PMO as it undermines our negotiating position seriously." It cannot be written stronger than this
- We've been saying that there should be an inquiry through JPC. Now Ministry itself has said, "we may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays"
- PM Modi should explain to the armed forces, especially the air force, why he is interfering with the negotiations?
- Look at the PM, look at me... who do you think look rattled?
- You do whatever enquiry and investigation whatever you want... investigate P Chidambaram and (Robert) Vadra, but also investigate Rafale.
- The entire Supreme Court judgment on Rafale becomes questionable now... because information was withheld by the government.
Rattled by #VadraQuestioning- GVL Narasimha Rao (@GVLNRAO) February 8, 2019
"On Bail" Tax Chor Rahul Gandhi with more LIES!! Routine notings are sensationalized in 'friendly' media & silly CHOR Congress makes a big deal!! This was an emergency procurement & a Govt2Govt deal.PMO & the CCS have final accountability & authority https://t.co/9Jpgui1j1y