AS Congress has urged the Comptroller & Auditor General of India and CVC to probe its accusation on alleged corrupt practices adopted for the purchase of Rafale Jet aircraft, ruling BJP has alleged that AICC President Rahul Gandhi is involved in a “conspiracy, internationally” and former French president Francois Hollande is part of the “nexus” to sabotage the Rafale deal. It was agreed during UPA regime to purchase 126 jet fighter Rafael aircraft when Hollande was President. But the deal fell through. His successor and New Delhi have agreed to the purchase of 36 aircraft from the Dassault Aviation. Citing instances, Indian Air Force justifies emergency buying as the IAF lacks adequate number of fourth generation aircraft to meet any challenge from the western and north-eastern borders. The ex-President has not given any convincing reason why the deal could not be executed during his tenure. Question also arises whether Hollande does not want his 40 –year-old successor take credit for implementing the agreement in the interest of French economy. Meanwhile, some politicians in Pakistan have launched a campaign on social media in favour of electing Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister of India compelling the ruling party cry foul. The Bharatiya Janata Party alleged on Monday that the Congress chief wants the purchase deal to be scrapped to help a firm linked to his brother-in-law Robert Vadra.BJP leader and Union Minister Gajendra Shekhawat dragged the Gandhi family into the intensifying political row over the fighter aircraft deal saying that the UPA government had called off the multi-billion dollar deal after a private company linked to Vadra was not chosen as a broker. He named a private firm and claimed its owner had been working with Vadra. Vadra has denied the accusation. Shekhawat ,who was speaking to media, also hinted at Pakistan’s role in the conspiracy saying one of its leaders, former interior minister Rehman Malik, has even tweeted that Rahul will be the next Indian prime minister. Commenting on Hollande’s reported comment that the Indian government had proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as a partner for Dassault Aviation for the Rafale deal, he said “How Rahul Gandhi and he are linked as a part of nexus, and are trying to sabotage the deal needs to be understood.”There is a conspiracy to get the deal scrapped, defame the country and lower the morale of Indian Air Force, Shekhawat alleged. At another presser, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about an “international dimension” to Rahul’s attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the deal, and told reporters that Hollande’s comments were not a coincidence. Hollande had reported to have said last week that France had no say in an Anil Ambani-led company being chosen as an offset partner by Dassault, which manufactures Rafale, and India had proposed its name. He later clarified that he was not aware if India had put any pressure on France. Shekhawat also accused the main Opposition of trying to compromise national interest to protect Vadra and his friend’s commercial interests. He also recalled Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s statements in Pakistan some years ago that Narendra Modi needs to be removed as the prime minister. BJP’s National Spokesperson Sambit Patra, has meanwhile, read out the tweets attacking PM Modi posted by Pakistani leaders, including its Prime Minister Imran Khan and present and former ministers, and said it looked like they have been campaigning for the Congress president.”Some people want Rahul to become a big leader in India. Who are they? They are Pakistani leaders, and also those who stand for corruption, dynasty and politics of appeasement,” Patra told reporters.The Congress and Pakistan have this commonality that they have “frustration” with Modi, and their “only aim is to remove Modi anyway from Indian polity”, he said.
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