Congress president Rahul Gandhi completely glossed over his fatally-flawed MoD 'dissent note' fake-news allegation from a few days earlier and launched a new attack on the Rafale deal on Tuesday, maligning the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Supreme Court in the process of claiming that the Prime Minister had also violated the official secrets act, in addition to the Congress president's existing and as-yet unsubstantiated allegations regarding corruption in the inter-governmental deal between India and France for the procurement of Rafale multi-role fighters.
Much like last week, Rahul Gandhi's press conference was held on the basis of a piece of 'evidence' - this time, a 2015 internal memo written by an executive of European aviation major Airbus that speaks of Reliance ADAG group chairman Anil Ambani meeting the French Defence Minister and discussing his intention to work on a defence production contract for helicopters, going on to intimate that he plans to sign a MoU on this during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit. In response, as per the letter, Anil Ambani may have been told that the French side would examine the correct course of action, and may also have been informed that there are other potential partners under consideration.
Based on this, the Congress president posed questions about how Anil Ambani was meeting the French Defence minister just ahead of the Prime Minister's visit and concluded that this entailed a breach of the Official Secrets act as the Prime Minister had informed Ambani, acting as his "middleman". The middleman mention is important as in its numerous arguments in the various Rafale debates, the government has cited how under its tenure, the practice of having middlemen and lobbyists fostering corruption in order to close defence procurement deals - Bofors, AgustaWestland, for example - has been ended.
He went on to say that the Prime Minister had committed treason and is "doing what spies do", calling for a criminal case needs to be filed, not just for corruption.
"This is literally handing over a defence secret. The PM has compromised national security, he's done what a spy does, he's given defence information to someone who shouldn't have it."
Upon making this proclamation based on a letter that didn't necessarily mention Rafale or manufacturer Dassault Aviation, Rahul Gandhi was confronted by a question about the CAG report on Rafale that is to be tabled in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament. In a shocker, he burst forth, "the CAG report is a worthless report. It's the Chowkidaar Auditor General's report. It's Modi's report, written for the Chowkidaar, on behalf of the Chowkidaar. I call the CAG the Chowkidaar Auditor General".
After tarnishing the CAG in the matter - taking a cue from others in his party who incidentally have reason to hold a grudge with the office of the government's auditor because of the events in the UPA 2 while Vinod Rai was CAG - Rahul Gandhi also spoke about the recent Supreme Court judgment that turned down petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the Rafale deal. He said that as the apex court's judgment had cited the CAG report on Rafale that hadn't yet been tabled, "frankly, the Supreme Court judgment is open to question now."
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