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Prime Minister's Office carried out parallel negotiations on Rafale, Rahul Gandhi claims showing news report

Question Robert Vadra and Chidambaram, but answer Rafale questions too, Rahul tells government

By PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 8.02.19, 1:35 PM
  • Updated 8.02.19, 1:35 PM
  • a min read
Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the news conference in the party office in New Delhi on February 8. PTI

The Prime Minister's Office was directly involved in negotiations with the French on the Rafale deal and Narendra Modi is guilty in the scam, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday in a fresh attack on the government over the fighter jet agreement.

It is an open and shut case, Rahul declared, citing a report in The Hindu newspaper claiming that the defence ministry 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.

Before the press interaction in the Congress headquarters, Rahul's Twitter handle @RahulGandhi requested all members of armed forces to watch his news conference.

"I want to speak to every member of the armed forces of this nation.... Here, it is absolutely clear that the Prime Minister has stolen Rs 30,000 crore of your money, bypassed a process, and given it to his friend Mr. Anil Ambani," Rahul told a press conference.

The government, as well as Ambani, have denied any wrongdoing in the fighter jet agreement.

Gandhi aslo read out from a document, purportedly from the defence ministry, published in the newspaper.

"Now, it is crystal clear that the ministry itself has said, and I will read it to you, 'it is therefore clear that the parallel discussions by the PMO has weakened the negotiation of the MoD and the Indian Negotiating Team. We may advise PMO that any officers who are not part of the Negotiation Team may refrain from having parallel parleys with the officer of the French government'," Rahul said.

The Congress chief repeated his demand for a joint parliamentary committee to probe into the deal.

The government can use the law against everyone, including his brother-in-law Robert Vadra and former Union finance minister P. Chidambaram, but must answer questions on the Rafale deal, he said. "Whatever inquiry you want to do, you do it. You implement the law. Robert Vadra, P. Chidambaram - you implement the law on everyone. No problem. But you also give answers on the Rafale matter."

He was responding to a question on the Enforcement Directorate interrogating Vadra in a money laundering case and the government's sanction to prosecute Chidambaram in the INX MEDIA case.