Continuing its attack on the BJP-led Centre over the Rafale deal, the Congress Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the oath of confidentiality by leaking information to Reliance Defence chief Anil Ambani about the purchase of 36 fighter jets from France.
Anand Sharma, deputy leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, demanded that the prime minister respond to the charges made against him in connection with the controversial deal instead of fielding his ministers.
“My direct charge is that the prime minister violated the oath of confidentiality. Only he could have told Anil Ambani that HAL will be out and he will strike a deal to buy 36 jets and ‘you (Ambani) go and talk to Dassault Aviation (the makers of Rafale jet),” Sharma told reporters at a news conference.
The Rafale controversy took a turn last week after former French President Francois Hollande claimed that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence’s name as the offset partner for Dassault Aviation.
In response, the French government said it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the Rafale deal, asserting that French firms have the full freedom to select Indian companies for the contract.
“We don’t want to hear from the defence minister, finance minister. The one who is supposed to speak is quiet (maun vratt). The prime minister has to respond to these questions,” Sharma said.
The Reliance group has rejected charges against it made by the Congress and said the government was in no way involved in securing its offset contract with Dassault Aviation.
Prime Minister Modi had announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighters after holding talks with then French president Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris.