Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference in New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference in New Delhi

Rahul uses fresh media report to accuse PM of violating Official Secrets Act in Rafale issue

ANI | Updated: Feb 12, 2019 21:24 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 12 (ANI) Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday used a fresh media report to allege that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had acted as a “middleman” for industrialist Anil Ambani in the Rafale fighter deal and accused him of violating the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and indulging in “treason” for which “action must be initiated”.
He also attacked the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), describing it as “Chowkidar Auditor General” and said the Supreme Court judgement, which gave a clean chit to the government in the matter, is “open to question now”.
Addressing a press conference here, Gandhi displayed some papers and said, "An email has come to light that states 'A. Ambani visited the (French Defence) Minister's office... Mentioned MoU in preparation and intention to sign during PM visit'. How is Anil Ambani meeting the French Defence Minister prior to Prime Minister's visit?"
Citing the media report, he claimed that “an Airbus executive wrote that Mr Anil Ambani met the French Defence Minister and told him 10 days before the Rafale deal was signed that he was going to get it.”
He said the Prime Minister needs to answer how Anil Ambani “knew 10 days in advance” of the Rafale deal, about which an announcement was made during Modi’s visit to Paris in April 2015.
"Then Defence Minister (Manohar Parrikar) says he doesn't know about the new deal, whereas Anil Ambani is sitting in the French Defence Minister's office saying the Prime Minister will sign an MoU with him involved. This is the breach of the Official Secrets Act,” Gandhi said.
“Now the Prime Minister needs to answer how did Anil Ambani knew 10 days in advance of the Rafale deal. Defence Minister, HAL, Foreign Secretary does not know but Anil Ambani knew. If this is true then Prime Minister is in violation of official secrets act, criminal action must be initiated on this basis," he said.
“The email makes it clear that Narendra Modi ji is acting as the middleman for Anil Ambani,” he alleged and asked, “what more proof do you need?”
"There is a breach of the Official Secrets Act (OSA). The Prime Minister had informed Anil Ambani and then Anil Ambani is telling the French (government) that he is going to get a deal that he gets. He (Ambani) opened the company after this conversation,” Gandhi alleged.
“If this is true, then PM is in violation of Official Secrets Act (OSA),” he said, adding “criminal action must be initiated on this basis.”
“This is now treason. Mr. Narendra Modi is doing what spies do. He is informing somebody of a defence matter. He is under oath to protect these secrets,” the Congress President alleged.
Asked what action should be taken in the matter, Gandhi said, "Earlier, it was a case of corruption, then procedural (aspects) and it is now the case of the Official Secrets Act (OSA). Action must be initiated on it."
Attacking the Prime Minister, he said, "If you are not involved in Rafale (deal), then you should constitute a JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee). Why are you worried? But you are not doing it because the only reason behind it is you are involved in it."
Referring to the Supreme Court verdict which gave a clean chit to the government over the Rafale deal, Gandhi said the top court stated it “clearly that it is not our jurisdiction. SC quoted the report of 'Chowkidar Auditor General'. Frankly, the Supreme Court judgement is open to question now.”
The Supreme Court on December 14 last year had dismissed all petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the agreement with French company Dassault for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter planes, saying there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the deal. The top court said it was not its job to go into the issue of pricing.
Ambani had welcomed the Supreme Court's judgement of December 14, last year, where it dismissed all PILs seeking probe into the Rafale fighter jet agreement with French company Dassault.
When pointed out that the government is accusing the Congress of disrespecting the CAG which is a constitutional body, Gandhi said today: "There is so much of evidence in Rafale now including an email where Anil Ambani is negotiating on behalf of PM Modi. This needs to be taken into account in the CAG report and it is obviously not being taken into account.”
Apparently talking about Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi, Gandhi said, “The gentleman who is making this CAG report is party to these decisions. So, he cannot possibly give a proper report. We are not questioning the institution of the CAG."
Accusing Prime Minister Modi for informing outsiders the Defence matter of the country, the Congress chief said: "This is now treason, Mr Narendra Modi is doing what spies do, he is informing somebody of a defence matter. He is under oath to protect these secrets."
Referring to the Supreme Court's judgement on the Rafale case, Rahul said: "The Supreme Court said it clearly that it is not our jurisdiction. Frankly, the Supreme Court judgement is open to question now. It does not have jurisdiction and has quoted the CAG report which does not exist." (ANI)

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