Launching a scathing attack against Narendra Modi-led government, Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed the media on the Rafale jet deal on Friday. The presser was called after a news report claimed that the Defence Ministry had expressed strong reservations to the "parallel negotiations" conducted by the Prime Minister's Office with France on the multi-billion dollar deal. Citing the media report, he alleged that Prime Minister bypassed talks on Rafale deal.
However, when Mr Gandhi was counter questioned about ED probes on Robert Vadra and P Chidambaram, Congress president said:
"Carry on with the inquiry on Robert Vadra. You follow the law. Conduct investigations on Robert Vadra or P Chidambaram. There is no problem but the answer the questions on Rafale as well".
Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his address to parliament, a large part of his focus was on defence and the armed forces. Hitting out at the Congress for its allegations against the Rafale fighter jet deal, PM Modi said the party did not wish to see the country's armed forces strong.
"Congress does not want our armed forces to be strong. I am levelling a serious allegation," the Prime Minister said during his reply to the debate on Motion of Thanks on the President's address.
"I wondered why they speak lies on Rafale with such confidence. Then I realised because they know in all their years in power there hasn't been a single honest defence deal. Some mama, some chacha kept coming in," he said.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi has attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeatedly over the past few months on the Rafale fighter jet deal, accusing him of corruption. Replying to all the allegations, PM Modi said:
"When an honest deal is finally being signed, these people of the Congress are distressed. They have long faces".
"We are still committed to zero tolerance for corruption," he said, adding that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had already clarified on the Rafale deal in parliament and the Supreme Court too had reviewed it.