Rafale deal row: Sambit Patra accuses Rahul Gandhi of playing with national security, calls Gandhi family 'corrupt'

Soon after Rahul Gandhi demanded an investigation against Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding his role in the Rafale deal and called him a "corrupt man", the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the Congress president of "lying" and said that the entire Gandhi family is "corrupt."

Addressing a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra asked Rahul the reason for not approaching the Supreme Court if he claims to have all documents to prove corruption. Referring to Rahul's statement that even former French president has said that the Prime Minister of India is corrupt, Patra challenged the Congress chief to produce a statement where Francois Hollande has claimed thus.

Patra accused the Congress leader of "lying through his teeth shamelessly" in wrongly quoting the former French president.

Quoting Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa as saying that the Rafale deal would be a "game-changer", Patra said that Rahul is saying the exact opposite. He asked to country to decide if they want to believe in Rahul or Dhanoa, while accusing the Congress chief of playing with national security.

He further said that Rahul stated in the Parliament that there is no secrecy clause between the countries however, the French government issued a statement moments later refuting his claims. During the debate on the no-confidence motion, Rahul had said that French president Emmanuel Macron had clearly conveyed to him that there was no problem in sharing details relating to the Rafale deal.

However, in an official statement, France said, "France and India concluded in 2008 a security agreement, which legally binds the two States to protect the classified information provided by the partner, that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment of India or France."

The BJP leader further said the Supreme Court has also dismissed a PIL (public interest litigation) that had questioned the aircraft's price and sought the deal cancelled. The Congress-led UPA government had jeopardised the country's defence as the squadron strength of the Air Force fell to 31 from 44, he alleged.

Rahul Gandhi's brother-in-law Robert Vadra did not get his share in the Rafale deal and therefore the UPA government cancelled it, he claimed.

Rahul had on Thursday said Rafale deal is 'clear-cut' case of corruption while reiterating his earlier statement about Reliance Defence being deliberately chosen by the government as the Offset partner for the deal.

Dassault Aviation, the company manufacturing the aircraft had issued a statement clarifying on the pact with the Indian government, reiterating that it "freely chose to partner with Reliance Group".

Modi came to power on the promise of fighting corruption, the Congress leader said, adding that he wanted to tell the youth of the country that the prime minister was involved in corruption.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Oct 11, 2018 19:12:13 IST

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