Sharad Pawar's 'clean chit' to PM Narendra Modi a BJP conspiracy: Congress

NCP MP Tariq Anwar has quit his party over Sharad Pawar's clean chit to PM Modi.

Sharad Pawar's 'clean chit' to PM Narendra Modi a BJP conspiracy: Congress

NEW DELHI: The Congress party on Friday said that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar did not give support Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rafale jet deal case and media reports about the same were "false and unfounded".

''Sharad Pawar has clarified to Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge that he had not made any such statement supporting PM Modi in the Rafale deal case,'' Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

The Rahul Gandhi-led party also accused the ruling BJP of hatching a conspiracy to create a rift between the Congress and the NCP.

"It is a conspiracy being hatched to create a rift between the parties," he told reporters.

"Pawar ji also expressed surprise that those who hatched the Bofors conspiracy on one false statement, why they are fearing from giving a reply on the price of Rafale aircraft and the JPC is the only answer to it," Surjewala said.

The remarks from the Congress spokesperson came hours after NCP leader and MP Tariq Anwar quit the party over Sharad Pawar's reported clean chit to PM Modi in Rafale case.

Surjewala told reporters that the NCP chief held a detailed discussion with Kharge and made it clear that "this is untrue and unfounded".

In an interview to a Marathi news channel earlier this week, Pawar had reportedly said that he didn't think that people have doubts about Modi's intentions in the Rafale deal.

Pawar's reported statement was lauded by BJP chief Amit Shah who asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to take a cue from his ally and place national interests above party politics.

The Congress and other opposition parties have been targeting PM Modi and the NDA government over the Rafale deal, alleging corruption and crony capitalism.

The government has flatly denied the charges.

Attempting to do a course correction, an NCP spokesperson, however, issued a clarification terming the media reports quoting Pawar as "misleading and confusing" and claimed the party chief has had not given a clean chit to Modi.

Sharad Pawar's daughter and NCP MP Supriya Sule too demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal.

In a series of tweets, Sule questioned why was the Modi government shying from calling a JPC probe if it was so confident of facts and figures?

"It's disappointing that people have not heard Sharad Pawar Saheb where he has clearly raised three questions: what is the justification for a 300 per cent price increase from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1,670 crore which potentially could be a significant loss to the exchequer?" she tweeted.

"If such doubts have been raised and the government is so confident, then why are they shying from setting up a JPC? When the BJP raised both price and specification issues during the Bofors allegations, then why are they hiding behind the artificial justification of secrecy of agreements vis-a-vis both commercial price and offset agreements," Sule said in a series of tweets.

Surjewala, however, stopped short of saying anything on media speculations about Tariq Anwar joining the Congress.

(With PTI Inputs)