This Article is From Aug 22, 2019

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Rejects New Allegations By Congress In Rafale Case: Highlights

Congress President Rahul Gandhi accused the PM Modi of running "parallel negotiations" with the French side.

Rahul Gandhi accused PM's (PMO) office of running "parallel negotiations" with the French side.

New Delhi:

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:

Feb 08, 2019 16:52 (IST)
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said a purported Ministry of Defence note on Rafale indicated that then defence minister Manohar Parrikar had no knowledgeof 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".
Feb 08, 2019 14:58 (IST)
Feb 08, 2019 14:32 (IST)
DMK President MK Stalin on MoD's dissent note on Rafale negotiations 

PM Modi has come under Supreme Court's contempt. In its sealed envelope to SC, centre never mentioned PMO's negotiations. Never ever in independent India, a Prime Minister was caught in such serious allegations

Feb 08, 2019 12:59 (IST)
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke outside the parliament and this is what she had to say: 
  • 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.
Feb 08, 2019 12:25 (IST)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says If the newspaper wanted to bring out the truth, they would have approached the defence ministry and done a thorough check. They would also have approached the then Raksha Mantri (Parrikar) for his views on it. The said paper has gone ahead and published a report without any facts to back it.They are flogging a dead horse... Madam, Every question on Rafale has been answered thoroughly and transparently... not just here in the House, but also in court.

Then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar ji replied to that MoD note that remain calm, nothing to worry, everything is going alright. Now, what do you call the NAC led by Sonia Gandhi's interference in earlier PMO? What was that?

Feb 08, 2019 12:23 (IST)
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge says We demand a joint parliamentary committee, everything will be revealed then, we don't want any explanation now, have heard many explanations, from PM Modi also.
Feb 08, 2019 12:04 (IST)
Former French President has admitted that he was made to choose Anil Ambani: Rahul Gandhi
  • 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"
Feb 08, 2019 12:02 (IST)

  • 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.
Feb 08, 2019 12:00 (IST)
Feb 08, 2019 11:57 (IST)
Rahul Gandhi denies talking about the jet deal with Manohar Parrikar.

"No, I did not speak about Rafale with Manohar Parrikar when we met recently. It would be inappropriate for me to discuss this at such a time (when he is unwell)," he says.

"It is desirable that such discussion is avoidable by the PMO, as such discussion affects our negotiations"... these are the quotes of the defence ministry. When an officer puts this in writing, it makes it very clear as to what is happening," says Mr Gandhi.

Feb 08, 2019 11:54 (IST)
"Today in the Hindu newspaper, it is absolutely black and white, that the prime minister himself was carrying out a parallel negotiation with the French," says Rahul Gandhi.

Feb 08, 2019 11:53 (IST)
Rahul Gandhi holding a press conference on Rafale fighter jets deal.