PM will not survive Rafale probe, says Rahul alleging Dassault paid kickbacks to Ambani firm
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(Eds: With more inputs, Reliance statement)
New Delhi, Nov 2 (PTI) Firing a fresh salvo, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Friday alleged that French company Dassault Aviation paid Rs 284 crore as "first instalment of kickbacks" to Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence and claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not be able to survive a probe in the Rafale jet deal.
He claimed that the prime minister was spending "sleepless nights" fearing action against him if a probe was conducted into the Rafale deal and that CBI chief Alok Verma was "removed" as he wanted to investigate the deal. Gandhi, however, gave no evidence or documents to substantiate his allegations.
Reliance Group rejected Gandhi's charges as false and said Ambani and his company are being continuously dragged into a political battle in view of upcoming polls.
"The Congress Party has today once again resorted to blatant lies and distorted facts to mount an unwarranted campaign of calumny and falsehoods against the Reliance Group and its Chairman Mr Anil Ambani personally," the group alleged a statement.
There was no reaction from the government or the BJP on the fresh charges, though they have previously rejected all allegations over the Rafale deal.
Gandhi, who has persistently attacked the prime minister over the Rafale deal, said at a press conference that "if an inquiry starts on this, Narendra Modi is not going to survive that inquiry, guaranteed".
The Congress chief claimed that one of the reasons for it is corruption as it is very clear who the decision-maker was. He said nobody will be able to say that it was some top Air Force officer or the Defence Minister or a bureaucrat in the Defence Ministry who finalised the Rafale contract.
"It is clear that it was Narendra Modi and it was the deal done by him to give Anil Ambani Rs 30,000 crore," he alleged.
The Congress chief quoted Dassault Aviation CEO Éric Trappier in media reports saying the reason Ambani's firm was given the offset contract and not state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was that it had land for the project. Gandhi alleged that the land was purchased by Ambani's company with the money that Dassault gave.
However, Reliance group said that the Congress party has "falsely alleged" that the funds invested in Reliance Airport Developers Limited (RADL) have been used for the purchase of land at Mihan, Nagpur for the Dassault-Reliance 49:51 pc joint venture.
Gandhi told reporters that "Dassault gave Rs 284 crore to a loss-making company with a valuation of Rs 8.3 lakh. This is the first instalment of kickbacks that has been given to Anil Ambani."
"It is a clear cut case of corruption and the truth will come out and it will be proven that the Prime Minister and Shri Anil Ambani have stolen Rs 30,000 crore," he alleged.
He said Dassault CEO clearly said that Anil Ambani got the contract because of land. However, Gandhi claimed that HAL has more land available.
"Why is the Dassault CEO lying? Who is he protecting? There is only one person Dassault CEO is protecting and that is the person who runs this country, that is Shri Narendra Modi," he alleged.
He added that Dassault CEO is trying to save two people - Modi and Ambani, who he alleged are in "partnership".
Terming it an "open and shut case", Gandhi alleged that "Rs 284 crore has gone into Ambani's account and for absolutely no logical reason other than a kickback".
The Congress chief claimed the CBI chief was "removed" because he has information in this regard.
He said if the Prime Minister was not involved, he would have allowed a probe into the deal by the CBI or the court.
"But he is silent. He has lost his sleep because of tension, because he knows he will be caught," Gandhi claimed.
"CBI chief has been removed because he has information of this type and he wants to start an enquiry and the Prime Minister is terrified....
"Obviously CBI chief was looking at these papers. It is obvious that there is enough material in the public domain to nail Shri Modi and the CBI Chief was removed. So, clearly it is a cover up taking place," he alleged, claiming that this is the reason the defence minister flew to France.
The Congress president said his party would continue to demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the Rafale deal. He claimed that the opposition parties were also fully in favour of it, but Modi will never agree for it as he is "terrified".
He also questioned why the government is not revealing the price of the aircraft purchased as Dassault Aviation's annual report clearly shows the price of the deal. Gandhi said when he met French President Emmanual Macron, he had clarified that the price cannot be part of the secret pact.
He said Rafale deal was negotiated for a decade and involved several procedures, but Prime Minister Modi "changed everything and gave the offset contract to Anil Ambani". PTI SKC ASK RT
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by BW staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.