Today Rahul Gandhi organised a press conference in which he indicted PM Modi of corruption in the Rafale fighter jets deal. We have identified the statements he made in the presser and decided to fact-check on them one by one:-
PM is silent on the Rafale Deal because he is exposed: Several Cabinet ministers of PM Modi have already come in open and spoken in detail about the inter-government Rafale deal with France. N Sitharaman, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, and Piyush Goyal have all addressed media refuting the claims of corruption made by the Congress. In fact, Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that Congress renegotiated the Rafale deal for bribes. Arun Jaitley had given an interview to ANI dismissing the ill-informed allegations made by the Congress President. The Finance Minister has also posted detailed explanations on Facebook. If senior BJP cabinet ministers have responded to the accusations, why is Rahul Gandhi lying about it? It may be because his allegations don’t hold water.
Clear Cut case of corruption against PM Modi
There is no corruption case as of now, let alone a clear cut case of corruption against PM Modi. Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to issue a notice to the centre in connection with the Rafale deal. If there is a clear-cut case of corruption, why did the SC did not notice it and take a suo-moto cognizance on the same? The top court has also mentioned that allegations made by the petitioners are “inadequate and deficient”.
Questioned Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to France
Questioning N Sitharaman’s visit to France, Rahul has obliquely accused N Sitharaman of striking negotiations with the French authorities after the Rafale scam got exposed. According to the official sources, Sitharaman is on her visit to France to hold wide-ranging talks with her French counterpart Florence Parly on ways to deepen strategic cooperation between the two countries and the two sides will also deliberate on major regional and global issues of mutual interests.
In their talks, Sitharaman and Party are expected to deliberate on joint production of military platforms and weapons by the two countries. She will also take the stock of progress in the supply of Rafale jets. Ministers routinely visit other nations for bilateral and multilateral meets and alleging corruption in that is hilarious. Rahul Gandhi himself undertakes so many journeys overseas, detail of most of them remain unknown to the public.
The Defence Ministry has also issued a statement that the trip was postponed twice in the past before the dates being finalised on 7th September 2018 and hence, the speculations and allegations don’t hold up.
Hon’ble @DefenceMinIndia is on a 3 day visit to France to hold the 1st Indo-French Ministerial level Annual Defence Dialogue. The same was firmed up on 7.9.18 after being postponed twice in the past. Therefore, impression being portrayed wrt to the visit is factually incorrect.
— Defence Spokesperson (@SpokespersonMoD) October 11, 2018
French President Macron told me that price is not included in the secrecy clause
The France government has already denied any discussion on this topic took place between Rahul Gandhi and Emmanuel Macron. They also had confirmed that the Rafale deal comes under the confidentiality clause of the security agreement signed between the two nations.
Interestingly, earlier Rahul Gandhi had claimed that Macron had said to him there is no secret clause in the deal and PM Modi can disclose details. Now he has changed his argument saying the price is not included in the secrecy clause. At last, he has accepted the existence of the clause.
Former French President told me in private that Reliance should get the deal
Rahul Gandhi has alleged that former French president Hollande told him in private that they were left with no options and the Indian government wanted to go ahead with Anil Ambani. However, the French government clarified that they were not involved in choosing the defence partners and that the French companies have full independence to do so. The Indian Government had already dismissed Hollande’s earlier claim as false.
Dassault’s deputy executive has said that PM of India has decided to compensate Reliance
We have already reported how French publication has misinterpreted the comments of deputy CEO of Dassault. While talking to a labour union, he was explaining that there is a mandatory offset obligation in the deal and therefore Dassault is setting up a plant in India. This was misinterpreted as Reliance being made mandatory partner. Now Rahul Gandhi has added his own interpretation in the allegation, bringing in PM’s name and the word ‘compensation’. He has focused on the word, but the French publication has used the term to mean ‘offset’, which is part of the deal. They are not talking compensating Ambani for anything, because in French the word also means offset.
Dassault is sitting on a huge contract. Dassault is going to say what the Indian government wants it to say
Citing an internal document of Dassault aviation Rahul Gandhi alleged that Indian Government forced them to choose Anil Ambani’s Reliance group as one of their offsets but refuting the allegations made by the senior executive of Rafale, Dassault on Wednesday had already denied allegations of being forced to make Anil Ambani’s Reliance group as offset partner. “This joint-venture, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL), was created on February 10, 2017. Other partnerships have been signed with other companies such as BTSL, DEFSYS, Kinetic, Mahindra, Maini, SAMTEL,… Other negotiations are ongoing with hundred-odd other potential partners,” Dassault said in a press release.
This is not just about Rafale, the scam is about Defence Ministry
Rahul Gandhi is still yet to prove malfeasance by any government official involved in the Rafale deal but he is now accusing the entire Defence Ministry of being involved in corruption. Without furnishing any proof or even a shred of evidence, Rahul has accused the ministry of being involved in corruption.
It is clear that Rahul Gandhi, through his presser, is more interested in politicising the issue rather than genuinely pursuing the case for detecting corruption. Whatever he has claimed in the presser are either open-ended accusations or downright lies.