Hours after former French President Francois Hollande's reported remarks on the Rafale deal, the Opposition launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he has "betrayed" the country and endangered national security by hiding crucial facts.
The slamming followed after a French media report quoted 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. Hollande said that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offset clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal.
In an interview to a media house, Hollande on a question about who selected Reliance as a partner and why, said it was the Indian government that proposed Reliance's name and Dassault had no choice but to take the company given to it.
Quoting an article, published by French journal Mediapart, ANI reported, "We did not have a say in that. The Indian government proposed this service group, and Dassault negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor we were given," said Hollande.
Who said what after the report surfaced:
The PM personally negotiated & changed the #Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani.
The PM has betrayed India. He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 21, 2018
The ‘Truth of Rafale’ exposed!
Our Statement -: pic.twitter.com/qTuS761Gwm
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) September 21, 2018
By hiding crucial facts on Rafale deal, is Modi govt not endangering national security ?
Former French President's statement directly contradicts what Modi govt had been saying so far.
Can the country be taken for a ride any further ?
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 21, 2018
— Niranjan Patnaik (@NPatnaikOdisha) September 21, 2018
Read the entire report by a reputed French paper of what former Pres Hollande said about how Ambani's Reliance came into the Rafale deal, at the instance of Indian government.This thoroughly exposes the lies of Sitaraman& Jaitley in defence of Modi in thishttps://t.co/2dz9FdUk4U
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) September 21, 2018
Former French President François Hollande said Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offset clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal.Why PM Modi compromised the national security involving his corporate friend in the deal? https://t.co/BhpCBUDaso
— Tarun Gogoi (@tarun_gogoi) September 21, 2018
Defence Minister has been called out again! This time by then President of France, Mr Hollande.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) September 21, 2018
PM Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after holding talks with the then French president Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The opposition has been accusing the government of choosing Reliance Defence over state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to benefit the private firm though it did not have any experience in the aerospace sector.