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Corruption in Rafale deal, PM Narendra Modi must clarify his stand: Rahul Gandhi


New Delhi: A day after former French president Francois Hollande’s remark on the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterating that the ‘chowkidaar’ of the country is a thief and asked why the PM is silent on Hollande’s remark.

He further pressed that PM Modi must clear his stand on the Rafale deal as the matter pertains to corruption and is related to the defence forces of the country.

Earlier on Friday, Hollande had said that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offset clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal. In an interview to a French media house, Hollande on a question about who selected Reliance as a partner and why, said it was the Indian government that proposed Reliance’s name and Dassault had no choice but to take the company given to it.

Addressing a press briefing in the national capital, the Congress scion accused the former and present defence ministers of the country of lying as
they “want to protect PM Modi”.

He pointed out that a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe should be initiated and former French president Hollande “can also be called” in the JPC.

Rahul said, “PM Modi must clear his stand on Rafale deal after ex-French President Francois Hollande’s remarks. Why is PM silent, it is a matter related to defence forces, it is a matter related to corruption. It is clear why various defence ministers of this government have been lying; they want to protect PM Modi. There should be a joint parliamentary committee probe; former French president Hollande can also be called.”

He further accused that for the first time in the Indian history, a former French president has called the prime minister a thief.

Rahul also said, “We’re absolutely convinced that the Prime Minister of India is corrupt. This question is now clearly settled in the mind of the Indian people that ‘desh ka chokkidar’ chor hai.

“The former defence minister (Manohar Parrikar) said that when the contract was changed, he didn’t know about it. He was buying fish in the markets of Goa,” added Rahul.

On Friday, quoting an article, published by French journal Mediapart, ANI reported, “We did not have a say in that. The Indian government proposed this service group, and Dassault negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor we were given,” said Hollande. The interview was published in French and excerpts of Hollande’s interview were tweeted by French Newspaper LeMonde journalist Julien Boissou.