In a fresh offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday called it a case of “global corruption” and said it would drop some “bunker buster bombs” in the coming weeks.
“Globalised corruption. This #Rafale aircraft really does fly far and fast! It’s also going to drop some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks. Modi Ji please tell Anil, there is a big problem in France,” he tweeted, tagging a report in The Indian Express that said the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Entertainment had signed a deal to produce a film with actor Julie Gayet, the then French President Francois Hollande’s partner, just days before the aircraft agreement was signed.
At a press conference, party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked “if it is too much of a coincidence that the group that has been selected as an offset partner of Dassault Aviation, the company that makes the Rafale, was also the co-producer of a French film made by the former President’s partner.”
“Once is a coincidence, twice is a coincidence, all these series of events are called conflict of interest. They are not coincidences. It’s called quid pro quo ,” he said.
Without naming Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who wrote a blog on Wednesday calling the Rafale debate a kindergarten one, the Congress dared him to a cross-examination of facts. “Please answer the questions and please don’t answer our questions with your own questions. And in your questions, not subjecting yourself to cross- examination. Come to this podium, we will cross-examine you…Come to any other podium,” Mr. Singhvi said.
At a press conference on Thursday, Mr. Gandhi read out excerpts from the joint statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Hollande to argue that the government brought the aircraft with the same configuration approved by the Indian Air Force when the UPA was in power. “The two leaders agreed that the aircraft and the associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by the Indian Air Force,” he said, quoting the statement. “The Prime Minister is saying something else now. It is clearly written here that the configuration is going to be the same. So, the man is lying,” he said.