New Delhi: The controversy over the Rafale jet deal took a new turn on Monday when the ruling BJP dragged in UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s name, alleging that the latter was keen to get the defence deal to help his arms dealer friend in procuring the deal which did not materialise and now the Congress is trying to take revenge by maligning the NDA government by alleging corruption in the deal.
The government also lashed out at the Congress President Rahul Gandhi, saying that his allegations had an “international dimension” which the government would expose and former French President Francois Hollande is part of the “nexus” to sabotage the Rafale deal. However, an unfazed Congress president continued his tirade against the NDA and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, charging the country’s “chowkidar” Narendra Modi with snatching away money from the poor and handing it over to industrialist Anil Ambani.
Mr Gandhi also asked the PM for answers on several issues relating to the Rafale jet fighter deal and also to clarify as to why the former French president Francois Hollande allegedly called him a “thief”. Dragging the Gandhi family into the controversy, Union minister and BJP leader Gajendra Shekhawat alleged that the UPA government had called off the multi-billion USD deal after a private company linked to Mr Vadra was not chosen as a broker.
Naming a private firm, Mr Shekhawat claimed that its owner had been working with Mr Vadra. Referring to Mr Hollande’s reported comments that the Indian government had proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as a partner for Dassault Aviation for the Rafale deal, he said, “How Rahul Gandhi and he are linked as a part of nexus, and are trying to sabotage the deal needs to be understood.”
He alleged that there is a conspiracy to get the deal scrapped, defame the country and lower the morale of Indian Air Force. Calling the entire issue a “perception battle,” Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will fight it. “This is a perception battle. We will fight this battle. We’ll go to places and state facts on record on Rafale. Congress designs to run a smear campaign against us at an international level,” the minister said....