India’s main opposition party Thursday asked a probe for the “actions” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the controversial multi-billion-dollar deal to buy French warplanes.
“Investigate the missing documents, but also investigate Narendra Modi for his actions mentioned in those missing documents,” Rahul Gandhi, chief of Indian National Congress party, quoted as saying in the party’s official Twitter account during a press briefing in the capital New Delhi.
“The contents of the files have clearly stated that the prime minister started a parallel negotiation and delivery of Rafale aircrafts was delayed because of his intention to benefit [billionaire] Anil Ambani,” Gandhi said.
On Wednesday, Indian government informed the Supreme Court that the classified documents linked to a controversial multi-billion-dollar deal to buy French warplanes had been stolen. The petitioners in the case presented reports published by a leading Indian newspaper over the jet deal in the court.
Gandhi further said: “It is a blatant case of corruption … Why should there not be a criminal investigation?”
“If PM is not guilty, why doesn’t he himself agree for an investigation? Why did he refuse to form a Joint Parliamentary Committee?”
On Wednesday, Gandhi tweeted: “There is now enough evidence to prosecute the PM in the #RafaleScam.”
He also said that the media is being punished for its courage.
Meanwhile, the Indian government denied the allegations again on Thursday.
“Totally condemn the blatant lies of Rahul Gandhi … he is inadvertently or deliberately playing into hands of Rafale competitors,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was quoted as saying in the local daily Hindustan Times.
The Rafale jet deal has triggered a political controversy in the country with the Congress party accusing premier Modi of making the purchase at a three time higher price then what had been negotiated in 2014, when the Congress was in power.
Modi is also accused of favoring billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group while choosing a domestic partner for Dassault Aviation — the French aircraft manufacturer.
The Indian government has denied all the allegations repeatedly.
Last year, the Supreme Court rejected calls to probe the deal, but now is hearing review petitions filed in the case.