New Delhi: By raising Rafale issue, Congress president Rahul Gandhi was trying to wash away his father’s stains linked to Bofors scam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
“His advisors told him Rafale does not resonate as a political issue. His own people told him to let the issue be. But he wanted to wash the Bofors stain on his father,” Modi said in an interview with CNN News18.
Taking a swipe at Gandhi, Modi said that the Rafale was not an issue that the opposition was concerned with. “One individual kept repeating the same lie and these lies were rejected everywhere, whether in Supreme Court or by the CAG. Some neutral journalists also raised the issue of the money trails in Bofors. But here that individual spoke without any basis. How long could that have lasted?” Modi added.
Earlier, Gandhi had hit out at PM Modi for allegedly helping industrialist Anil Ambani through the Rafale defence deal and had said Modi’s ‘karma’ would catch up with him soon.
The Prime Minister further said that the Congress had been destroyed by defence scams and hence were trying to make the same allegations against all governments.
“During the Vajpayee government, they tried to trap George Fernandes in the Coffin Scam. It turned out to be all lies. Now they are trying to trap me. We are asking for proof but they are not giving any. They are only lying,” Modi added.
Stating that he had been in public life for years, he said that during his term as chief minister of Gujarat, “even the Congress leader in opposition said you can’t accuse Modi of corruption.” People of India, he added, are smart and would “never accept lies, however hard the opposition tries.”
When asked about the Chowkidaar slogan, he said that it was in 2013-14, during his campaign as Prime Minister candidate that he used to tell people “you make me chowkidaar and I will not let anyone steal India’s wealth” and that became a part of his speech. “Even today, I say I am the chowkidaar and I will not let anyone steal. And if someone does, I am strengthening the law and taking strong action. The government has succeeded in creating an environment that encourages honesty,” he said.
Rafale has been a topic of heated debate, with leaders raking up the topic in campaigns also. On Thursday, while addressing a rally in Nagpur, Gandhi had said corruption in the deal would be investigated if his party came to power at the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections.
(The full interview will be aired today at 7pm and 10pm on CNN-News18, News18 India, CNBC TV18 and other News18 regional channels.)