A probe into the procurement of Rafale fighter jets from France would throw up names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Anil Ambani, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Wednesday.
Addressing a campaign rally here for the second phase of Assembly polls, Gandhi also claimed the NDA government bought the planes at Rs 1,600 crore a piece as against the Rs 526 crore for each aircraft fixed by the Congress-led UPA government.
Gandhi’s comments came on a day the Supreme Court said a discussion on the pricing of the Rafale jets can only take place if the facts of the deal are allowed to come into the public domain.
The apex court, which began its hearing on pleas seeking a court-monitored probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, also said it would like to hear from an Air Force officer and not an official of the Defence Ministry.
“The CBI director (Alok Verma) initiated a probe in the Rafale deal. The prime minister removed him at 12 in the night. I am telling you, the day a probe will begin in Rafale deal, two names will surface: Anil Ambani and Narendra Modi,” Gandhi told the gathering.
On former French president Francois Hollande’s comments in French media that the Indian government had proposed Reliance Defence as partner for Dassault Aviation in the deal and that France did not have a choice, Gandhi said Modi named Ambani’s company as Dassault’s partner in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal.
The Modi government chose Ambani’s “inexperienced” company over the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which has a long experience in aerospace and defence sector, Gandhi said.
There was no reaction from the government or the BJP on the fresh charges, though they have previously rejected all allegations over the Rafale deal.
On demonetisation, Gandhi said the poor suffered due to the move and that no billionaire or “thieves with black money” had to queue up outside banks to exchange notes after the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes were declared invalid by Modi on November 8, 2016.
Gandhi termed demonetisation as the “biggest scam” of the country.
“There has been no bigger scam than this (note ban). The truth will come out. It will be proved that Modi made the move to snatch money from the poor and put it in the pockets of thieves like Nirav Modi, Anil Ambani and Mehul Choksi,” he said.
Terming the prime minister as corrupt, Gandhi accused him of not taking action against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh’s son Abhishek, whose name he said figured in the Panama Papers.
Invoking his family ties with the state, the Congress chief said the relationship was of love and not politics.
“We have old ties with you. Jawaharlal Nehruji, Indiraji, Rajivji, Soniaji had family ties with Chhattisgarh.
It was a relationship of love and not politics,” he said.
He accused the BJP-led state government of forcibly acquiring lands of farmers, adding the Congress, if elected to power, would not snatch land from peasants.
The Congress president also promised to install a “people’s government” in Chhattisgarh and accused the ruling BJP of destroying the state in its 15-year rule.
The state was among the richest in the country in terms of water, forest, mines and minerals but its people have remained poor due to the policies of the BJP government, he said.
Lands of locals in the tribal-dominated state were taken away to set up industries, he said. But when the units were not set up, the lands were not returned, he added.
Polling for the second phase in 72 seats, out of the total 90-member Assembly, will take place on November 20 and the counting of votes will be held on December 11.