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PM carried out 'parallel negotiations', directly involved in Rafale deal: Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI: Referring to a news report published on Friday which alleged “parallel negotiations” by PMO in the Rafale defence deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that it is clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is directly involved in the defence deal.

In a media report published on Friday, it is alleged that at the height of negotiations over the Rafale defence deal between India and France, the defence ministry had “objected” to “parallel negotiations” being conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with the French side, Congress president claimed.

“PM Modi himself robbed Air Force’s Rs 30,000 crore and gave it to Anil Ambani, we have been raising this issue for over a year. Now a report has come where Defence Ministry officials say that PM was holding parallel negotiations with France Govt,” the Congress president said during a press conference.

During the press conference, Rahul repeatedly called the Prime Minister a ‘thief’ and asked him to answer his questions on the defence deal.

Rahul reiterated his demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to investigate the Rafale defence deal.

“We’ve been saying that there should be an inquiry through JPC. Now Ministry itself has said, ‘we may advise PMO that any officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays’,” the Congress president said.

The Congress president, quoting from the report, said that the defence secretary had urged the PMO to avoid such discussions as they “undermine” their negotiating positions.

On his meeting with Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, the Congress leader said that he did not raise the Rafale issue with the former defence minister.

“I told him that I have come to see you that doesn’t mean that I will not raise the issue of Rafale. It was merely a courtesy visit to inquire about his health,” he added.

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