Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of compromising on national security and called him a “middleman for Anil Ambani”.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in New Delhi, Gandhi, whose party has been repeatedly alleging a scam in the multi-crore Rafale fighter jet deal with France, cited a media report which said that Ambani met the French Defence Minister just days before the inking of the fighter jet deal.
“An email has come into light that states ‘A. Ambani visited the Minister’s office… Mentioned MoU in preparation and intention to sign during PM visit’. How is Anil Ambani meeting the French Defence Minister prior to PM’s visit?” Gandhi said while showing the email to media persons.
“Modi is under oath to protect secrets. He has given these secrets to Anil Ambani, who knew about the biggest defence deal in the world 10 days before. This in itself is criminal. This in itself will put the Prime Minister in jail,” Gandhi said.
Alleging that the PM has compromised with national security, Gandhi said, “Defence Minister says he doesn’t know about the new deal, whereas Anil Ambani is sitting in the French Defence Minister’s office saying PM will sign an MoU with him involved.”
“This is the breach of the Official Secrets Act. PM was working as the middleman for Anil Ambani,” he added.
“First, it (the deal) was a matter of corruption, now it is a matter of official secrets act. Investigation should begin immediately,” Gandhi demanded, reiterating that the new development is serious.
Rejecting the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the Rafale deal, Gandhi even went on raising a finger at the Supreme Court’s judgement based on that report.
“Supreme Court judgement is open to question. It does not have jurisdiction and has quoted the CAG report which does not exist,” he said.
A three-Judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had dismissed all the petitions calling for a probe in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
According to a report published by The Indian Express on Tuesday, Anil Ambani visited then French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s office in Paris and had a meeting with his top advisers in March 2015. NDTV reported that Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence stated that the visit had nothing to do with Rafale but to discuss a Naval Utility Helicopter deal for which the government of India had issued a Request for Information in 2015.
Gandhi had on Monday slammed the PM for “facilitating loot” in the deal by removing the anti-corruption clause, as was reported by a daily.
“Every defence deal has an anti-corruption clause. The Hindu has reported that the PM removed the anti-corruption clause. It is clear that the PM facilitated loot,” Gandhi told reporters outside the Andhra Bhawan in New Delhi where he came to support Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s protest against the Centre.
“NoMo anti corruption clause. The Chowkidar himself opened the door to allow Anil Ambani to steal 30,000 crore from the IAF,” Gandhi tweeted from his official handle using his “chowkidaar chor hai” jibe at the PM.
Congress members have been raising the matter since the start of the Winter Session of Parliament on 11 December, demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal.