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Voice: All the dope in CM’s bedroom

The conversation on the tape also hints at attempts at power grab

By Sanjay K. Jha and Arnab Ganguly in NewDelhi/Mumbai
  • Published 3.01.19, 3:38 AM
  • Updated 3.01.19, 9:24 AM
  • a min read
Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar at the state secretariat in Panaji on Tuesday. PTI

The Congress on Wednesday released an audio tape featuring a purported conversation between a minister in the BJP government in Goa and an unidentified journalist in which references to the Rafale deal have been made.

Later, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Goa chief minister and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar was “blackmailing and threatening” Prime Minister Narendra Modi using information on the Rafale deal.

One voice on the tape is alleged to be that of Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane, a former chief minister’s son who was with the Congress before switching to the BJP.

Both Rane and Parrikar have questioned the authenticity of the tape, and Rahul did not authenticate it in the Lok Sabha.

But sources in Goa pointed out that some specific local issues figured in the recorded conversation. The following are excerpts from the conversation:

Purported minister: Apart from that, the chief minister makes one interesting statement. That I have all the information of Rafale in my bedroom.

Purported journalist: What are you saying?

Purported minister: I am telling you…

Purported journalist: My God…!

Purported minister: Because this is how, you know… this is something… which he said.. that means he is holding them to ransom…

Purported journalist: I swear.

Purported minister: He said it’s in my bedroom…. here only in the flat…. Each and every document of Rafale is with me. Now whether he wanted somebody to go and inform them in Delhi or what… I didn’t understand…

On Wednesday, Rane wrote to Parrikar: “At no point there has been a discussion between me and any other individual. There should be a thorough inquiry into this matter and I would like to once again inform the CM that there is someone playing mischief and there should be a thorough inquiry.”

Chief minister Parrikar tweeted: “The audio clip released by the Congress party is a desperate attempt to fabricate facts after lies were exposed by the recent Supreme Court verdict on Rafale. No such discussion ever came up during Cabinet or any other meeting.”

Local media in Goa had reported about a cabinet meeting held at Parrikar’s residence in Panaji on December 20 when some ministers expressed unhappiness with the slow pace of recruitment. This issue figures in the tape.

The conversation also hints at attempts at a power grab, listing names and events usually familiar to an insider.

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