After locking horns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Rafale deal earlier, Congress President Rahul Gandhi launched a fresh new attack on Friday, accusing PMO of conducting “parallel negotiations” with the French side.

“With the media report today, it is black and white that the PM himself was carrying out parallel negotiations with the French. We have been saying there should be a JPC, an inquiry. Now the (then) minister himself has said it,” Gandhi said at a press briefing at AICC headquarters in New Delhi.

The report released by The Hindu states that the Defence Ministry had raised strong objections to “parallel negotiations” conducted by the PMO in the Rafale defence deal. The official documents available to The Hindu revealed that the Defence Ministry in a note dated November 24, 2015, protested that the position taken by the PMO was “contradictory to the stand taken by MoD and the negotiating team.” 

The Defence Ministry’s internal note dated November 24, 2015

“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 Govt,” said Rahul Gandhi while addressing a press conference over the Rafale deal.

However, after reacting to the media report made, the Defence Ministry in a dissent note on Friday made it clear that the negotiations had nothing to do with the pricing of the deal but they were about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions.

“Whatever has been brought out (media report on Rafale) has nothing to do with pricing,” said G Mohan Kumar, Defence Secretary.

Rahul Gandhi’s attack came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday gave his last speech in the Parliament before 2019 Lok Sabha elections where he said that the opposition party does not want the Air Force to be strong and questioned whether it was bidding for a company.

“I want to say it on the floor of Parliament that the Indian National Congress doesn’t want our armed forces to be strong. They don’t want our security apparatus to be strong. Which companies are they bidding for that they are acting so shamefully,” he said.

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