New Delhi: The Congress party on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rafale deal and its connection with Anil Ambani saying that the “businessman friend’s” Reliance Defence was incorporated when the aircraft deal was announced. Speaking at a press conference, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that the deal was made to favour Ambani.
“On March 28, 2015, Reliance Defence Limited was incorporated. On March 25, 2015, Eric Trappier stated that contract with HAL was finalised. On March 11, 2015, HAL and Dassault stated parts of Rafale manufactured by HAL and Dassault will be guaranteed by respective companies,” Sibal said.
The Congress leader further alleged that only former French president Francois Hollande and PM Narendra Modi were aware of the Rafale deal. “On April 8, 2015, Foreign Secretary of India stated Rafale deal wasn’t on the table during PM’s visit to France on April 10, 2015. But PM announced about the 36 Rafale aircrafts deal, while none of them were aware,” he said.
“On April 24, Reliance Aerostructure Limited was formed days after Rafale deal was announced. Therefore, both Modi and Reliance knew what the other was up to. Only HAL didn’t know. Manohar Parrikar, Arun Jaitley or Nirmala Sitharaman none of them were aware of the new deal announced by PM. Only two people knew — then French President Hollande and PM Modi,” the allegation continued.
“Why did they take decision on Rafale deal on April 10? We are only asking for the price, not the technology,” he said.
Attacking the BJP on their “international conspiracy” remark, Sibal said, “We wanted Rafale deal to go through, which would generate thousands of jobs. I want to ask Nirmala Sitharaman where did she come across the international conspiracy.” BJP chief Amit Shah had earlier kicked up a storm saying if the Opposition was forming an ‘International Mahagatbandhan’ with Pakistan since both of them chant “Modi hatao”.
Shah’s tweet read, “Rahul Gandhi says ‘Modi Hatao’, Pakistan says ‘Modi Hatao’. Now Pakistan also supports Rahul Gandhi’s baseless allegations against PM Modi. Is Congress forming an International Mahagathbandhan against PM Modi?”
The Rafale deal row began soon after Francois Hollande claimed that the Indian government had suggested the name of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence as the Offset partner for Dassault in the aircraft deal.