New Delhi, Sept 24: Faced with "crony capitalism" charge for allegedly preferring Reliance Defence Ltd as the offset partner of Dassault Aviation, the BJP on Monday attempted to turn tables on the Opposition, claiming that the investigating agencies are probing whether Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra "attempted to influence" the Rafale fighter jet deal.
Union Minister and senior BJP leader Gajendra Shekhawat said Vadra used his influence in the erstwhile government to attempt offset partner contract being awarded to Offset India Solutions (OIS), the company floated by controversial arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari. P Chidambaram Targets Narendra Modi Government for Dodging Rafale Probe.
"Since Bhandari was linked to Vadra, the then government wanted to rope his firm in the Rafale deal. But Dassault was against it," said Shekhawat, adding that the agencies are probing the case.
Sanjay Bhandari ki company aur Robert Vadra ki company ko UPA bicholiye ke taur par istemal karna chahti thi. Jab yeh nahi ho saka tab aaj Congress is deal ko khatam karke uska badla lena chahti hai: Union Minister & BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on #Rafale pic.twitter.com/reswoTbaSa
— ANI (@ANI) September 24, 2018
Congress has denied the allegations levelled by the BJP, calling it an attempt by the ruling party to deflect attention from the statements of former French President Francois Hollande.
Notably, Bhandari has faced the ire of Indian agencies following the regime change in 2014. Assets worth Rs 42.61 crores were seized from his resident in an IT raid in 2016. In January this year, he was declared a "proclaimed offender" and charged under the Official Secrets Act.
Vadra, while reacting to his alleged links with Bhandari, told news agency ANI earlier in the month that the government is unnecessarily dragging him into the cases involving Bhandari. "They wanted to drag me in every case as it suits their politics. Since they have no achievement to showcase, they will continue to level baseless charges against me to deflect attention from the real issue," he said.