Rahul Gandhi on Rafale deal: PM Modi is corrupt, demands investigation

Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing the media

Rahul Gandhi called PM Narendra Modi corrupt following a French media report that said Reliance Defence was an “imperative and obligatory” condition for securing the Rafale contract

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday, October 11, called the Prime Minister Narendra Modi corrupt following a French media report that said a joint venture with Reliance Defence was an "imperative and obligatory" condition for securing the Rafale contract.

"The Prime Minister of India is corrupt, I want to tell the youth of the nation that he is corrupt," said Gandhi said at a special media briefing in New Delhi. Gandhi has also demanded an investigation against the prime minister.

Gandhi read out excerpts from the report by French website Mediapart, which citing an internal Dassault document, on Wednesday, October 10, said that the group agreed to work with Reliance as an "imperative and obligatory" condition for securing the fighter contract.

Questioning the timing of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s three-day visit to France, Rahul Gandhi said, “It is pretty clear that there is a huge cover-up... India’s Defence Minister going to France... What can be a clearer.”

Questioning the timing of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s three-day visit to France, Rahul Gandhi said, “It is pretty clear that there is a huge cover-up... India’s Defence Minister going to France... What can be a clearer.”

The government has been insisting that it had no role in the Dassault's choice of Reliance Defence. Dassault Aviation said also in a statement that it has "freely chosen to make a partnership with India's Reliance Group".

Congress has been alleging that the Anil Ambani firm was favoured in the ₹21,000 crore contract at the cost of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) despite the private firm having no prior experience in aerospace manufacturing.

Former French president Francois Hollande had also claimed in an interview to Mediapart last month that the Indian government had proposed Reliance Defence as the partner in the Rafale deal and France did not have a choice. Dassault had then clarified that the decision to partner with Reliance Defence was their own.

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