Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Saturday attacked his Congress counterpart Rahul Gandhi wondering if he has formed an global "mahagathbandhan" (grand alliance) with Pakistan against Prime Minister Narendra Modi as both are saying "Modi hatao" (remove Modi).
The sensational comments quoted to Hollande by French publication "Mediapart" gave a new twist to the controversy as the Indian government has been maintaining it was not officially aware of whom the Dassault Aviation has selected as its Indian partner to fulfil offset obligations of the deal. "I've gone to the Prime Minister's Office only once". Randeep Surjewala also challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to disclose the quoted agreement between Dassault and Reliance happened in 2012.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the reports of French media and said that the PM Modi personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors. "We did not have a choice, we took the partner who was given to us". "He has dishonored the blood of our soldiers".
In a statement, Dassault Aviation said it made a decision to partner with Reliance Defence in accordance with the policy of "Make in India". "Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to.Anil Ambani", said Mr. Gandhi in a tweet. "We did not have a say in this".
In his tweets, Rahul Gandhi had alleged that Modi and Anil Ambani jointly carried out a "surgical strike" on the defence forces.
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It's more about the moment and the momentum, like you like to call it, is very important in the positive and negative way".
Another Congress spokesperson, Priyanka Chaturvedi, alleged that "Rafale Minister" and "Reliance Defence's Publicity Minister" colluded to throw HAL out of the deal and hand it over to their dear friend. "Shame on you. You betrayed India's soul".
Notably, Reliance Defence is not making components for Rafales, but building assemblies for Dassault business jets.
"The French government is in no way involved in the choice of the Indian industrial partners which have been, are or will be, chosen by French companies", the statement said.
Under the Rafale deal, France must spend amounts totalling around half the eight billion euros ($9.4 bn) paid by the Indian government.
The statement by the Ministry of Defence comes amid media reports of the former French President claiming that the Indian government suggested the private firm for the Rafale offset contract. The French government says it played no role in Dassault's selection of Reliance.
The Congress said that after Mr. Raju's revelation the Defence Minister has "no moral authority to continue even for a second and reiterated its demand to investigate the deal by a JPC".