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SC’s Rafale Judgment Under Question Now, Says Rahul Gandhi After Report on PMO ‘Interference’

SC’s Rafale Judgment Under Question Now, Says Rahul Gandhi After Report on PMO ‘Interference’

The top court had given the Narendra Modi government a clean chit on the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and dismissed all the petitions seeking a direction to the CBI to register an FIR for alleged irregularities in the deal.

New Delhi: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) was directly involved in conducting negotiations with the French side on the Rafale deal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "guilty" in the scam.

“It is an open and shut case,” Gandhi said, mounting a fresh attack on the government on the fighter jet deal following a media report which quoted a defence ministry note as saying that the PMO undermined India’s position by running a “parallel negotiation”.

Gandhi added that the Supreme Court judgement on Rafale is also under question now. “If the Supreme Court had this document, do you think they would have given this judgment?” he said.

The top court had given the Narendra Modi government a clean chit on the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France and dismissed all the petitions seeking a direction to the CBI to register an FIR for alleged irregularities in the deal.

Speaking to reporters, Rahul Gandhi said the government can use the law against everyone, including his brother-in-law Robert Vadra and former Union Finance minister P Chidambaram, but must answer questions on the Rafale deal.

The Hindu reported on Friday that defence ministry officials during Manohar Parrikar’s tenure had complained to him about the PMO’s alleged interference.

According to the report, the note dated November 24, 2015 was sent to Parrikar and recorded defence secretary G. Mohan Kumar’s opposition to the PMO’s “parallel negotiations”.

“… such parallel discussions by the PMO has weakened the negotiating position of MoD and Indian Negotiating Team…. we may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays (parleys) with the officers of French Government,” the note, reproduced by The Hindu, said.

“In case the PMO is not confident about the outcome of negotiations being carried out by the MoD, a revised modality of negotiations to be led by PMO at appropriate level may be adopted in the case,” it added.


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