New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday took a swipe at the Modi government Anil Ambani over the Rafale issue, saying that in order to bag India’s biggest defence contracts one has to be a “defaulter of Rs 45,000 crore” and have “no relevant experience”.
The opposition led by the Congress has been accusing the government of benefiting Ambani’s Reliance Defence Ltd. from the Rafale deal.
“Modi’s Operandi for handing out India’s biggest defence contracts — 1. Be a defaulter of (Rs) 45,000 crore. 2. Owe money to other companies who beg Supreme Court not to let you leave India. 3. Be called ‘Bhai’ by PM but have no relevant experience,” Gandhi said in a tweet.
He also cited a media report claiming that Swedish telecom equipment company Ericsson has petitioned the Supreme Court to prevent Ambani and two senior executives from his group from leaving the country after accusing them of wilfully defaulting in previously promised payment of Rs 550 crore by alleged abuse of process of law.
In a statement on Tuesday, Reliance Communications Limited termed Ericsson’s filing as “unwarranted”. Reliance Communications said it has already filed an application on September 28 in the Supreme Court, praying for extension of time for making payment to Ericsson by 60 days.
The Rafale controversy took a new turn last month after Francois Hollande, who was French president when the Rs 58,000 crore deal was announced, was quoted as saying by French publication Mediapart that France was given “no choice” on selection of the Indian partner for Dassault, the manufacturer of Rafale jets.
The Indian government proposed the name of Reliance as offset partner for the French aerospace giant, he said.
The BJP and Reliance Defence have dismissed all the allegations made by the opposition on the Rafale issue as false.
Modi had announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighters after holding talks with Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris.
(With PTI inputs)