Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

PM betrayed India on Rafale deal, dishonoured our soldiers’ blood: Rahul

PM betrayed India on Rafale deal, dishonoured our soldiers’ blood: Rahul

The government and the Congress have been trading charges over the controversial Rs 59,000-crore purchase nearly every day this week, with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi demanding defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman's resignation for "lying" on the capability of HAL to build the fighter aircraft and the latter claiming the Congress-led UPA was responsible for HAL's decline and that the decision to drop the state-owned aircraft maker from the deal was taken during the UPA's rule. The defence ministry's response follows Congress president Rahul Gandhi's allegations + that there was "clear-cut" corruption in the Rafale deal. "It is the question of dignity of the office of prime minister". The defence ministry said soon after that neither the Indian nor the French government was involved in the commercial decision. The Modi govt has lied and misled Indians.

He also ruled out a joint parliamentary committee probe saying it can not be done to satisfy the ego of an "ill-informed leader".

"We are absolutely convinced that the prime minister of India is corrupt.", he added. "He must clarify", Gandhi said.

"The former French president has clearly and categorically said that the prime minister himself suggested the name of Anil Ambani's company". "As per Defence Offset Guidelines, the foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is free to select any Indian company as its offset partner".

Is the Congress president being untruthful or is he just unwittingly fumbling the numbers? "The PM has betrayed India". "Cat is out of the bag", screamed Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala as social media erupted with questions and barbs about what some described as the desperate efforts to hide the facts and mislead the nation.

Gandhi, who has spoken about the issue in India's parliament, lashed out at Modi on Twitter on Friday, saying Modi "personally negotiated & changed" the Rafale deal behind closed doors.

The statement attributed to Hollande, who was speaking in French, was translated for The Telegraph by Basabi Pal, head of the French department at Chandernagore Government College in Hooghly, and Sudeshna Banerjee, a journalist with this newspaper. Defence minister has been called out again! Escalation of a mere 1100 crore. "I am sure the Euro equivalent would not be a problem to calculate". The government has been maintaining it did not have any role in selection of the offset partner by Dassault.

Hollande's statement sharply contradicts the Indian government's stated position on the deal.

The Aam Aadmi Party also attacked the BJP government over the Rafale deal. "Former French president Hollande is calling Modi a thief", Gandhi told reporters.

FILE PHOTO: A Rafale fighter jet performs during the Aero India air show at Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru, India, February 18, 2015.

The statement further read, "This contract is a government-to-government agreement. Can the country be taken for a ride any further?"

Rashtriya Janata Dal national spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha also tweeted about Hollande's statement, saying he was waiting for Arun Jaitley to come out with more "brazen lies" to defend the deal.

The Indian government proposed Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as a partner in the now-controversial Rafale deal, and France "didn't have a say in the matter", former French president Francois Hollande said in an interview published on Friday.

Hollande has been quoted in an article by the French website as claiming that the Indian government had asked the French government to nominate Reliance Defence as its India partner in the Rafale jet offset deal. "We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us".

"It is reiterated that neither government of India nor French government had any say in the commercial decision", it said.

Francois Hollande had claimed that the Indian government mooted role for Anil Ambani's in Rafale deal. Dassault said the first contract was a government-to-government contract, and that the company then picked Reliance for their partner in a separate offset contract.

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