Rahul Gandhi and his Congress party have been attacking the Modi government over the Rs 58000 crore Rafale fighter jet deal alleging corruption and favoritism.
Addressing HAL employees, Rahul Gandhi said, “HAL is not just a company. When India got independence, India built some strategic assets to enter specific areas, HAL is a strategic asset to take India into aerospace.”
“The work you have done for this country is tremendous and the country owes a debt to you,” Rahul added.
Before meeting the HAL employees, Gandhi scion said there was a need to ‘defend the dignity of India’s defenders’ as he accused the Narendra Modi government of ‘snatching’ the Rafale offset contract from HAL and ‘gifting’ it to Anil Ambani’s company.
On Wednesday, a report in the French media claimed that Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale, had to choose (mandatory) Ambani’s firm Reliance Defence as its offsets partner in India as a trade-off for getting the deal.
However the BJP led Modi government has been insisting that it had no role in the Dassault’s choice of Reliance Defence.
Dassault Aviation said in its earlier statement that it has “freely chosen to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group”.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi has demanded an investigation against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his role in the Rafale deal, alleging that he was a ‘corrupt man’ who helped Anil Ambani pocket Rs 30,000 crore in the purchase of 36 aircraft.
Last month, former French President Francois Hollande was quoted by ‘Mediapart’ as saying that France was given ‘no choice’ on selection of the Indian partner for Dassault and the Indian government proposed the name of Reliance to partner with the French aerospace giant. The former French president’s comments triggered a massive political row.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.