Are you Ambani's PM, asks Congress

Are you Ambani's PM, asks Congress

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. DH file photo.

Stepping up attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress on Tuesday dared him to break his silence on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, an issue on which it moved the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for investigation.

The Congress also rejected the BJP's allegations that it wanted the Rafale deal scrapped only to help a firm linked to Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal claimed that none of the ministers in the Modi government were aware of the move to enter into an inter-governmental agreement with France on the Rafale aircraft purchase.

“None of them (the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the then Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj) were aware of the negotiations in Rafale,” Sibal said.

He said only two people knew what transpired during the meeting in Paris, Modi and the then French President Francois Hollande, who has given his version of the event.

“The prime minister should speak up and tell us whether he agrees or disagree with what Hollande has to say,” Sibal said.

The Congress also demanded to know the reasons for awarding the offset contract in the Rafale deal to a company owned by Anil Ambani by ignoring the claim of state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

“Are you Ambani’s prime minister, or the country’s prime minister,” Randeep Singh Surjewala, in-charge of the AICC Communications Department, said.

However, the Congress sidestepped questions on whether it would scrap the Rafale aircraft deal if it came to power.

“We are more concerned about the security of the country. The security of the country requires those 126 Rafale. Now, we want to ask the government how they are going to get 126 aircraft. They cannot afford to buy the balance number of Rafale as they are paying Rs 1,670 crore for each Rafale. How will they buy the rest, which will require Rs 2,00,000 crore.” Sibal asked.

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