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PTI 10 Aug 2018, 02:35 PM India

Rafale "biggest ever" defence scam: Rahul Gandhi

(Eds: Updating with more quotes)

Raipur, Aug 10 (PTI) Congress president Rahul Gandhi

today termed the Rafale fighter jet deal as the country's

"biggest ever" defence scam and alleged that Prime Minister

Narendra Modi was a "partner" in the corruption.

Addressing a party event here, he also said that Modi has

not yet spoken a word on the rape incidents in Uttar Pradesh,

Bihar and Rajasthan.

He said the situation related to the condition of women

has not been as bad in the "last 3000 years" and "everybody is

asking the BJP and the NDA where are 'acche din' (good days)."

The Congress leader said the promises made by Modi to

farmers, youth and the poor people have remained unfulfilled.

He also attacked the prime minister over the resignation

of two journalists and alleged that "those who try and bring

the truth out are stifled."

Gandhi was addressing Congress workers after inaugurating

the newly-constructed office of the party's unit in the state

which is slated to go to the polls later this year.

Raking up the issue of the Rafale jet deal with France,

Gandhi alleged that it was the "biggest ever" corruption and

"the 'chowkidaar' (watchman) has been a 'bhagidaar'".

He was obviously referring to Modi who has been saying

that in his position as the prime minister he is the country's

'chowkidaar'.

India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with

France in 2015 for procurement of 36 Rafale figher planes.

"The UPA government had readied the Rafale contract,

according to which the price for each jet was approximately Rs

540 crore. The contract was ready and Modi ji only had to take

a decision.

"But, Modi ji goes to France and scraps the previous

contract and the Defence minister and other cabinet

ministers do not know about it," Gandhi said.

"Magically, the price of each Rafale jet shoots up from

Rs 540 crore to Rs 1400 crore," he added.

He maintained that the secrecy pact with France did have

any clause wherein the price of the jets could not be

disclosed to the country.

The Congress leader claimed that the contract was earlier

given to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and

Modi handed it over to "his friend Anil Ambani".

"The fun part is that the contract was given to Ambani

ji, who has never made an aeroplane in his life nor has he

ever taken a contract for defence," Gandhi said.

"The company, which was given the contract, was in a

debt of Rs 45,000 crore," he claimed.

Ambani has already rejected Rahul Gandhi's allegations

and emphasised that the government had no role in the Rafale-

manufacturer French company Dassault picking up his company as

a local partner.

He had written to Gandhi on December 12, 2017, refuting

allegations of his Reliance Group lacking experience to get

the Rafale fighter jet deal.

He had written that Reliance Defence has the largest

shipyard in the private sector at Pipavav in Gujarat and is

currently building five Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs)

for the Indian Navy and 14 Fast Patrol Vessels for the Indian

Coast Guard.

Invoking his family's "respectful relationship" with the

Gandhi family over generations, Ambani had said he was

"personally saddened" by the "unfortunate statements" against

him and his group by several functionaries of the Congress

party.

Gandhi, while addressing the event today, said when he

raised the Rafale issue in Parliament, the PM could not even

look into his eyes.

The Congress chief also raised the issue of rape

incidents reported from various parts of the country.

"Women are being raped in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and

Rajasthan and despite the involvement of (some) BJP

legislators, the "56-inch chest" Prime Minister does not speak

a word over these incidents," Gandhi said.

"Today, women are scared of even going out of their

homes. The situation has not been so bad in the last 3000

years," he said.

He said that when the NDA government came to power

four years back, Modi promised "acche din" but the slogan has

been forgotten now.

"One after the other, promises are being broken...

People trusted your (Modi's) words but their trust is being

broken one after the other," he said.

"Modi ji says Congress has not done anything in its 70-

year rule but in the four-year rule of BJP government, the

women are scared of even stepping out of their homes," he

said.

Gandhi claimed that a union minister has "conceded" that

putting Rs 15 lakh in bank accounts was just an election

'jumla' (slogan) and that it was just a ploy to fool the

people.

"Recently, Gadkari ji asked where is employment. Gadkari

ji, we are asking this question and crores of youth are also

asking. You have to answer us not ask us questions," he

said.

"Now they don't talk about employment but talk about

making 'pakodas'," the Congress leader said.

Gandhi also attacked Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman

Singh once again over his son's name allegedly appearing in

the Panama Papers.

"Even Pakistan's (former) prime minister (Nawaz Sharif)

has been jailed for the same reason but no action has been

taken in the case of Abhishek Singh," he said.

"I know it must be pricking you that the money which

could have been used to repair colleges and install computers,

has been put in some bank by Raman Singh's son," he said.

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(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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