As Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed a packed crowd in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar after the Congress Working Committee meet today, the theme of his speech was clear as soon as he started speaking – target Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale fighter jet deal.
Anil Ambani, who was chosen by Rafale manufacturer Dassault for an offset contract in the Rafale deal, has never made a plane in his life, Rahul Gandhi said, and added “I guarantee Anil Ambani won’t even be able to make a paper plane” – his quip generating applause from the crowd.
“PM Modi goes to France and in his delegation Anil Ambani goes as well. France President (Francois Hollande) says he was asked to give the contract to (Anil) Ambani,” Rahul Gandhi charged.
The Congress alleges that the government went for an overpriced dealfor Rafale jets to benefit Anil Ambani, whose Reliance Defence is one of the offset partners for Rafale maker Dassault. Both Dassault and Anil Ambani have denied the Congress allegations.
The offset clause means that in exchange for the contract, Dassault has to invest half the value of the deal — about Rs. 30,000 crore — in Indian firms. Reliance Defence was chosen as one of those “offset” partners and is to manufacture plane parts – though not for the 36 jets ordered by India.
The Supreme Court in December refused to investigate the deal worth an alleged 8.7 billion dollars and rejected petitions that alleged corruption, including the choice of Anil Ambani’s firm as domestic partner. But the opposition says the government concealed vital information. The top court is now hearing petitions asking the Supreme Court to review its clean chit to the fighter jet deal with France.