Rahul Gandhi Says, "PM Modi doesn't have the guts to answer on Rafale in parliament, he's hiding in his room"

Rahul Gandhi Says, "PM Modi doesn

Rahul Gandhi Says, "PM Modi doesn't have the guts to answer on Rafale in parliament, he's hiding in his room" 

New Delhi: Today the Congress President, Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government on the Rafale jet deal. Mr Gandhi posed a series of questions and said that the PM Modi had "no guts" to answer.

"The PM has no guts to come to parliament and give answers on Rafale," Mr Gandhi said and added that the Defence Minister,  Nirmala Sitharaman was "hiding" behind AIADMK members in the house.

The Congress President also insisted on playing an audio tape that his party claims is the recording of a Goa minister quoting Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar as saying that files related to the Rafale jet deal were "in his bedroom".

The authentcity of the tape was questioned by Lok Sabha Speaker Sunmitra Mahajan.

The Goa CM, Manohar Parrikar had tweeted that the audio clip is a "desperate attempt to fabricate facts". Vishwajit Rane, the minister supposedly on tape,also said the tape was doctored and that Mr Parrikar "never made any reference to Rafale".

When the deal for 36 Rafale jets was signed between India and France, Mr Parrikar was the defence minister of India. Mr Parrikar, has been severely unwell in recent months and battling a pancreatic condition, which has spurred calls for his replacement.

The feud in Rafale jet deal has taken yet another turn as the Congress today claims that they have an audio recording of a Goa minister quoting Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar as saying that files related to the Rafale jet deal were "in his bedroom" and asked PM Modi whether that was why his government was not allowing a Joint Parliamentary Committee inquiry.

The Congress party has said that the Goa CM, had said at a meeting of the Goa cabinet that no one could remove him as "all the Rafale papers are in my flat, in my bedroom". Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed that Vishwajit Rane, the Health Minister of Goa is on tape relating this conversation, shortly before the jet deal was to be discussed in parliament.

The Congress spokesperson played an audio tape in which Vishwajit Rane is apparently talking to an unknown person about a three-hour cabinet meeting and saying "keep it confidential". The authenticity of the tape cannot be verified by dailyaddaa.

The voice which is anticipated to be Mr Rane's says that the chief minister "made a very interesting statement, that I have all the information of Rafale in my bedroom". The other person is heard reacting: "What are you saying!" To which, the minister says: "...You can cross-check with somebody you are close to in the cabinet. This is something he said, that means he is holding them to ransom...He said it is in my bedroom here only in my flat, each and every document on Rafale."

"Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has all the files relating to Rafale jet deal. The fashion in which every procedure was bypassed...it is all recorded in the files. Those files are with Mr Parrikar. Why are those files being hidden? We want the truth," Mr Surjewala told reporters. 

The accused minister Mr Vishwajit Rane said that the audio tape is "doctored". He said that "Mr Parrikar has never made any reference to Rafale or any documents. Have asked him for a criminal investigation into this."

Last month, the Top Court had cleared the government of allegations linked to the Rafale deal. The court said there was no reason to doubt the decision-making process, delivering a huge reprieve to the government amid Congress allegations of corruption in the Rs. 59,000-crore contract.

The court had earlier rejected a probe and dismissed petitions that had alleged that the government had gone for an overpriced deal to help industrialist Anil Ambani's company bag an offset contract with jet-maker Dassault. The court said that "There is no evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity."

Former ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, along with advocate Prashant Bhushan, today requested the Supreme Court to review its December 14 decision.

On Tuesday, in an interview to news agency ANI, PM Modi had said on Congress president Rahul Gandhi's repeated attacks on Rafale: "This is not an allegation against me personally, but an allegation against my government. If there is any allegation against me personally, let them dig who gave what, when and where and to whom."

Referring to the Supreme Court clean chit, the Prime Minister also said: "Those people who want to weaken the army are making such allegations. Should I worry that they are making personal attacks on me, or whether my country's needs should be met?"