The war of words over the Rafale aircraft deal continued on Thursday with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi accusing the Prime Minister Narendra Modi of allegedly changing the "entire deal" to benefit a businessman, a charge dismissed by the ruling party. His charge came days after his party alleged that a "huge scam is brewing" in the procurement of the 36 fighter jets from France and accused the Prime Minister of promoting interests of Reliance Defence Limited.
"You ask me so many questions and I happily and openly answer them".
At a press meet after he attended a meeting of the newly-formed All India Unorganised Workers' Congress at the AICC headquarters, Rahul did not take questions from mediapersons. I want to ask you, why don't you question prime minister Modi on the Rafale deal. "Why don't you ask about Amit Shah's son?" he asked. The Prime Minister changed the entire deal to help just one businessman.
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He also tweeted, "Can you explain "Reliance" on someone with nil experience in aerospace for Rafale deal?" "Self "Reliance" is obviously a critical aspect of "Make in India", he added.
He also alleged that Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of Rafale aircraft, refused to transfer technology to it and instead entered into an agreement with Reliance Defence. The opposition has been claiming that the acquisition cost is highly inflated and that the government neglected the interests of public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. "Why has the joint venture for the biggest-ever Indian defence deal between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence Limited not gone through the proper procedure of approval by the Union Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Security and Foreign Investment Promotion Board?" he had asked. In a statement, Reliance Defence Limited dubbed the Congress' allegations as "baseless and unfounded".
"Reliance Group does not have any company by the name of Reliance Defence & Aerospace Ltd. Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd will be only one of the key players in the discharge of offset obligations". "The Indian Government has no role to play in this", it said. "No approvals from the Union Cabinet or CCS were required for the formation of the aforesaid Joint Venture company under the automatic route".
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