Rafale Deal: Union minister Prakash Javadekar claimed that the prevous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had stopped the Rafale deal midway for a review in 2012 as it wanted to “bring in” Robert Vadra’s close aide Sanjay Bhandari.
MUMBAI: Amid a political slugfest over the Rafale fighter jet deal, Union minister Prakash Javadekar on
Tuesday hit out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his “chor” jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and wondered whether the Congress chief’s “behaviour” could be called “shameless”.
Mr Javadekar, who was in Mumbai, said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government will go ahead with
the purchase of fighter jets from France to strengthen the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The HRD minister claimed that the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had stopped the
Rafale deal midway for a review in 2012 as it wanted to “bring in” Robert Vadra’s close aide Sanjay
Robert Vadra is the son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and brother-in-law of Congress president
“We also know cuss words, but we have no intention to use them for politics. Congress president Rahul
Gandhi used very abusive words against the prime minister. What should we call his behaviour? A
shameless one?” Mr Javadekar questioned.
“The language used by Rahul Gandhi does not follow any norms of decency, hence, we condemn the use of
such language. No matter how many times you spread a lie, it will never become the truth,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi had on Monday alleged that the country’s “chowkidar” Narendra Modi had snatched away money
from the poor and handed it over to industrialist Anil Ambani.
Mr Gandhi also demanded answers from the prime minister on several issues relating to the Rafale deal
and asked him to clarify as to why former French president Francois Hollande reportedly said “we didn’t
have a choice” in selecting the offset partner for the deal.
Addressing reporters in Mumbai, Mr Javadekar said the Rafale deal was being opposed only by Pakistan
and the Congress.
“Pakistan feels India will become more powerful if we procure the fighter jets, whereas the Congress is
afraid that the BJP’s power will grow manifold and that is why it is criticising the deal,” he said.
The Human Resource Development (HRD) minister alleged that the previous Congress government stopped the
Rafale deal “which was in advanced stage, for their own (personal) interest”.
“We have found out that in 2012, the Congress-led UPA government stopped (the Rafale deal) midway and
ordered a review (of the deal) because they wanted to bring in Sanjay Bhandari, who is very close to
Robert Vadra (Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law). Sanjay Bhandari is now abroad,” he said.
The senior BJP leader also highlighted that the current government signed the deal at a cost which was
20 per cent lower than the one proposed by the previous Congress government.
“The deal between the two countries (India and France) was already at an advanced stage during the
Congress government,” Mr Javadekar said.
“All scamsters felt protected under the Congress-led UPA government. (Nirav) Modi, (Vijay) Mallya left
India now because they are afraid that the BJP government will take action against them,” he said.
The Union minister accused the Congress of levelling “false allegations” even during the tenure of
former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“There was no coffin scam,” Mr Javadekar said, referring to the allegations of corruption in the
purchase of coffins by the then BJP-led government after the 1999 Kargil war between India and
“Congress compromised on national security by stalling the Rafale deal at an advanced stage just
because Robert Vadra’s aide Sanjay Bhandari wanted the offset contract. Congress cannot work without
middlemen. This is the difference between them and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Prime Minister
Narendra Modi-government made a government-to-government deal with France for Rafale, in which there
was no middleman involved,” he said.
On the demand of the Congress and some opposition parties for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC)
probe into the Rafale deal, Mr Javadekar said the committee will be of no use in view of false
“The Congress has realised that it does not have any future in the forthcoming (general) elections and
that is why it is trying to hatch some conspiracy to malign the image of the BJP,” he said.
The Congress under Rahul Gandhi has launched an unrelenting tirade against the BJP government over the
Rafale deal, alleging corruption and violation of rules by the prime minister.
It has also accused the prime minister, finance minister and the defence minister of “lying on the
PM Modi had announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets after holding talks with then French
president Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris.
The controversy took a turn last week after a French media report quoted Mr Hollande as purportedly
saying that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the
Rs. 58,000 crore Rafale jet fighter deal and France did not have a choice.