Ravi Shankar Prasad sees conspiracy in Rahul Gandhi’s Rafale attack, says Congress chief under pressure from Eurofighter middlemen

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Published: January 7, 2019 3:43:48 PM

Ravi Shankar Prasad accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi of spreading lies on the Rafale. He said that the IAF needs fighter jets, adding that our neighbouring nations have strengthened their air force.

Ravi Shankar PrasadRavi Shankar Prasad (File pic)

Senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday launched a scathing attack on the Congress party and its president Rahul Gandhi over its constant attacks against the government and the Prime Minister over the Rafale deal. Prasad referred to a document accessed by a media house to say that middlemen wanted in the AgustaWestland scam are the same who were pushing for the induction of the Eurofighter, a competitor to the Rafale. He said that it is well known that the Congress party has never happy unless “there is a deal in the defence deal”.

Questioning Rahul Gandhi’s intention, Prasad said documents in the public domain are explosive in nature and clearly state that the middleman was known to the MoD bureaucrats, Finance Minister, Prime Minister and the leading family.

“The documents available raise serious suspicious circumstances and intention of Rahul Gandhi and the Congress,” he said and wondered how long he will keep playing with the country’s internal security.

The document states that middlemen wanted in chopper scam, one of whom is in detention, were working for the Rafale’s competitor, he said.

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Prasad told reporters that the papers seized during a raid from Italian middleman Guido Haschke reveal that Christian Michel and Haschke worked on a plan to place Rafale’s prime competitor in the win zone.

“A media house has come with documents which reveal that the same middlemen who were pushing for AugustaWestland were also fighting for the Eurofighter which is in competition with the rafale,” he said.

The minister also asked three questions of Rahul. He noted that when in 2011-12, the Rafale tender was the lowest, then Defence minister said that it needs reconsideration only because the ‘commission was not paid’. “Was this 8-9 years delay because of the lobbying at your end? Under whose pressure this was put on hold?” he asked Rahul.

Prasad said that Rahul Gandhi is protesting against Rafale only because he is under pressure from the middlemen of Eurofighter. “Even till date, he is under pressure (from Euro middlemen). He (Rahul Gandhi) can’t deny his relationship with Christian Michel. …the leading family is common in both, there (AgustaWestland) and here (Rafale),” he said.

The minister also accused the Congress president spreading lies. He said that the IAF needs fighter jets, adding that our neighbouring nations have strengthened their air force.

“By raising questions time and again, Rahul Gandhi is only compromising with the country’s security. The morale of IAF is badly hit. Today, it has become clear that Rafale protest is nothing but manufactured because Rahul Gandhi is under pressure from the competitor of Rafale,” he said.

The Congress and BJP have trained guns at each other over the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. While the Congress has been alleging a scam on part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP has rejected all charges.

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