Mumbai, Oct 13: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi raked up the alleged corruption in the Rafale deal yet again and probably for the first time after May General Elections in Mumbai today. He said the "guilt" of corruption in the deal is the reason why Defence Minister Rajnath Singh went to France to receive first Rafale Fighter jet.
On October 8, after the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets was handed over to India, Rajnath Singh performed a 'Shastra puja'.
Watch: Here's what Rahul Gandhi said:
#WATCH Rahul Gandhi, Congress in Mumbai: Whole country knows there was theft in Rafale deal, people from Defence Ministry wrote clearly that PM is interfering in deal, that is why there is guilt.The name Rafale hurts, that is why Rajnath Singh ji went to France to collect Rafale. pic.twitter.com/TsmFojvor6— ANI (@ANI) October 13, 2019
Rahul Gandhi questioned the 'purpose' of Rajnath Singh's "unprecedented" visit to France to receive the first Rafale fighter jet, saying BJP leaders are bearing "guilt" in their minds for making "mistakes" in the controversial deal.
Addressing a poll rally in Chandivali assembly constituency in Mumbai, his second in the day, Gandhi also raised the alleged fraud in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank which has led to restrictions on withdrawal of money by depositors. "It seems the Rafale deal is still hurting the BJP.. (If not) Why Rajnath Singh went to France to receive the first fighter jet?" he asked the audience.
In Chandivali, sitting Congress MLA Naseem Khan is seeking another term against Shiv Sena's Dileep Lande. In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi had alleged "irregularities" in the Rafale deal under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"There has been some guilt in the minds of BJP leaders that they have made a mistake in the Rafale deal. Even Defence officials had claimed that PM Narendra Modi is interfering in the Rafale fighter jet deal. No one can run away from this truth, neither Narendra Modi, nor Amit Shah or the BJP. The truth will catch them one day," he said. He said everyone knows that the Rafale deal was controversial and "some kickbacks were given".
"The deal still hurts (the BJP) and hence our defence minister went to France to collect the first fighter plane. So far, no one ever had gone to the supplying nation to collect the fighter plane like this," Gandhi said. The defence minister on Tuesday received the first Rafale fighter jet from France on behalf of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Singh, who attended the handover ceremony of the first Rafale fighter jet at aircraft maker Dassault Aviation facility in Merignac, southwestern France, called it as "historic" moment and said that it would boost strategic ties between India and France.