The Opposition's attempts to fire a fresh Rafale attack off a media report citing a Ministry of Defence (MoD) letter seemingly hitting out at the PMO have been nipped in the bud by a clarification by the then Defence Secretary.
Speaking to ANI, G Mohan Kumar, who was the Defence Secretary at the time of the Rafale deal negotiations, has rebutted the inference of a a media report that had referenced a dissent letter by the MoD to the PMO wherein PMO officials were asked to refrain from holding parallel parlays with French government officials as it adversely impacted the Indian negotiating team's negotiating position. The inference, which was jumped on by the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi was that the "parallel negotiations" were over the pricing of the Rafale Multirole fighter.
However, the top MoD bureaucrat at the time has clarified that the MoD dissent letter on Rafale negotiations had nothing to do with the price, rather it was about a sovereign guarantee and general terms and conditions. G Mohan Kumar has also added for good measure that whatever has been brought out has nothing to do with pricing.
The clarification pours cold water over Rahul Gandhi's fresh attempts to once again attack the Modi government in the matter. Top government sources have said that he questions getting raised in media reports about the process followed have been answered in the supreme court to the satisfaction of the top court.
Further, the sources added that the concerned officer was present when the cabinet committee on security approved the deal finally and that there were no questions pending when the deal was finally signed and all concerned departments were on board.