PMO acted as middleman in Rafale deal, says Cong; asks PM to reveal on whose behalf he was acting

New Delhi, Feb 8 (UNI) Sharpening its attack on the Narendra Modi Government on the Rafale deal after a media report referred to a note by the Defence Secretary in 2015 objecting to the parallel negotiations by the Prime Minister’s office with the French Government in the Rafale deal, the Congress on Friday alleged that the fresh documents and revelations proved that PMO acted like a middleman in the defence transaction.
The party asked the PM to explain on whose behalf he was negotiating with the French Government.
Talking to reporters here, AICC spokesperson Manish Tewari said,’’this morning, Congress president Rahul Gandhi cited a media report, citing a defence Ministry note, to prove that the NDA Government has been constantly lying on the Rafale deal. After the report appeared, the Government, in its defence, presented some documents.
However, the notes released or leaked by the Government actually indict the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s office more than the newspaper report. In a nutshell, all the documents pertaining to Rafale that have come to light till now that the PMO was constantly interfering in the whole process. The Defence Minister and ministry officials were ignored in the process. The documents show that the PMO almost behaved like a middleman in the Defence transaction, the PM or the PMO should tell the country on whose behalf they were acting,’’ he alleged.
Mr Tewari said that the fresh documents that have come out in the deal have proved that the PMO was directly involved in the deal.
‘’In the 70 years history of post independent India it is the first time that the PMO has been involved in a defence deal and in doing so has bypassed all administrative processes,’’he said.
Mr Tewari said that the note by the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar shows that he had distanced himself from the happenings in the deal. Meanwhile, in a tweet, AICC media incharge Randeep Surjewala said,’’Def Min Parrikar’s file notings prove PM Modi’s illegal & illegitimate interference of parallel negotiations in the Rafale Deal.  Will Modiji answer for what is the quid pro quo for bypassing the INT?  Who was the beneficiary thereof?  Why was National Security compromised?’’
Earlier on Friday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, renewing his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal in the light of fresh revelations said that it was now clear that the PM stole money from the country and from the Indian Air force and was guilty in the scam.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr Gandhi, referring to a report published in a national daily that the Ministry of Defence objected to parallel negotiations being carried out with French authorities in the Rafale deal, said, ‘We have been saying that the PM is directly involved in the Rafale scam. After the latest revelations, which say that officials in the Defence Ministry raised objections to the parallel negotiations being carried out by the PMO with French authorities in the Rafale deal, it is clear that the PM stole Rs 30,000 cr from the Indian Air force and gave it to Anil Ambani.
“The revelations show that the Ministry of Defence felt that parallel negotiations by the PMO were weakening India’s position. It is crystal clear that the PM is guilty. It is proved now that the chowkidar is chor,” said the Congress president.

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