Rafale Deal Row Escalates: 'The Hindu' Report Shows Defence Ministry Note Protesting 'Parallel Negotiation' by PMO With France; Rahul Gandhi Attacks Narendra Modi
Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders protesting outside the CBI headquarters over Rafale deal | (Photo Credits: PTI)

Mumbai, February 8: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday, once again, attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale Deal. Addressing a press conference on the deal, Rahul Gandhi cited a news report in The Hindu that revealed a document showing that the Ministry of Defence had protested against the Prime Minister's undermining of the Rafale Deal negotiations with France. Cong Raking Up Rafale Issue Because It Does Not Want Country’s Security Apparatus to Be Strong: PM

"PM Modi himself robbed Air Force's Rs 30,000 crore and gave it to Anil Ambani, we have been raising this since 1 year. Now a report has come where Defence Ministry officials say that PM was holding parallel negotiations with France Government," Gandhi said.

The Hindu Tweet on Rafale Deal

The Hindu report cited a November 24, 2015 note saying that parallel discussions by the PMO had “weakened the negotiating position of MoD and Indian Negotiating Team. “We may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays [parleys] with the officers of French Government," the note said.

The note also suggested that if the PMO was not confident of the negotiations being carried out by the MoD, a "revised modality of negotiations to be led by PMO at an appropriate level may be adopted in the case.”

The report notes that contrary to the said MoD note, the Government had in its submission in the Supreme Court said that the negotiations were carried out by a seven-member team headed by the Deputy Chief of Air Staff and that there was no mention of any role of the PMO.

Meanwhile, responding to the news report, Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar that the said note had nothing to do with pricing. It (MoD dissent note on Rafale negotiations) had nothing to do with price. It was about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions," Kumar said.