Gwalior, May 8: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi Wednesday said the Rafale deal would be probed if his party came to power after the Lok Sabha elections and claimed the inquiry would throw up two names – that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and industrialist Anil Ambani. Gandhi once again challenged Modi for a debate on the Rafale deal at any place “except Ambani’s residence” and maintained the prime minister would not be able to face the country as truth in the deal would surface.
Addressing a poll rally here, Gandhi also raked up the 1999 release of Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar to attack Modi over the issue of nationalism. Raising questions over why the contract related to Rafale was awarded to Ambani, Gandhi asked Modi to come clear on why the fighter jet was purchased at Rs 1,600 crore (per plane) from France by the NDA govement as against Rs 526 crore negotiated by the Congerss-led UPA regime.
“You (Modi) won’t be able to debate with me on the issue for 15 minutes…you won’t be able to stand before India. Remember one thing, no can be saved from the truth. “There would be probe into the Rafale scam and two names will come: Narendra Modi and Anil Ambani,” Gandhi said.
In the past, Ambani has claimed the government had no role in his company, Reliance Defence, getting an offset contract related to the Rafale deal.
On the release of Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Azhar, Gandhi said it was a BJP, and not a Congress, government that had released the terrorist. “The BJP government took the terrorist out from India’s jail, put him aboard a plane, BJP’s minister took the (same) flight and BJP’s minister gave money to Jaish-e- Mohammed.
“And the same terrorist killed CRPF men in Pulwama. Modi should answer who did this job,” Gandhi said. Azhar and two other terrorists were set free by the Vajpayee government in exchange of hostages of the IC-814 Indian Airlines flight hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999.
Azhar later went on to set up the Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based terror outfit that claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama. Gandhi also hit out at BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for alleging that farmers have not received benefits of the loan waiver announced by the Kamal Nath government in the state.
To drive home his point, the Congress chief said Chouhan’s brothers were among those who had received loan waiver.
Gandhi talked about the party’s Nyay scheme, a minimum income guarantee programme that envisaged giving Rs 72,000 per year to five crore poor families of the country. He said that the Congress will ensure farmers are not jailed in the event their failure to repay debts, if it is voted to power. Gwalior is among the eight Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh that will vote on May 12.