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Posted at: Feb 13, 2019, 6:55 AM; last updated: Feb 13, 2019, 10:32 AM (IST)

Rahul accuses Modi of treason, seeks criminal action; BJP rejects charge

Claims breached Official Secrets Act by helping Ambani, wants criminal case
Rahul accuses Modi of treason, seeks criminal action; BJP rejects charge
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday, February 12 2019. PTI

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 12

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday cited an email from an Airbus executive to attribute leakages of the Rafale deal MoU to industrialist Anil Ambani and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of treason.

Flashing the email, now in public domain, Gandhi said PM Modi “is the middlemen of Ambani” and “needs to be charged under the Official Secrets Act”.

“There is an email from the Airbus executive who says Anil Ambani visited the French defence officials and told them that an MoU was ready with an intention to sign it. What could be clearer? This is treason. The PM alone knew of the Rafale MoU and shared this defence secret with Ambani.

“The defence minister didn’t know, the foreign secretary didn’t know, HAL didn’t know. The PM was under oath to protect defence secrets and he leaked those secrets. Criminal action must follow,” Gandhi said in a press conference at the party headquarters.

He also rejected the yet-to-be-tabled CAG report on Rafale, saying “I would call the report the Chowkidar Audit General Report” as it had been written by the PM for the PM.

Gandhi repeated old charges of alleged corruption in the deal saying, “Earlier, there was the axis of corruption and procedural inconsistencies in the Rafale deal and now there’s a third one, one of treason which is the most serious.”

The BJP, however, rejected the charge, saying the email purportedly by an Airbus executive referred to a helicopter deal and not Rafale.

Gandhi released to the media an email dated March 28, 2015 purportedly written by Airbus executive Nicolas Chamussy to three recipients with the subject line “Ambani”.

He claimed the email showed Ambani visited then French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s office and mentioned an “MoU in preparation and the intention to sign during the PM visit (to France)”.

Addressing a press conference, Gandhi reiterated that there will no doubt in anybody’s mind that the prime minister is a “corrupt man” and he has helped Anil Ambani, Gandhi alleged.

He read out the email at the press conference, quoting it as saying that Ambani visited the defence minister’s office and “told them he intends to work with AH (Airbus Helicopters) on commercial helos and then on defence. Mentioned (an) MoU in preparation and the intention to sign during the PM visit”.

“This is literally handing over a defence secret...The prime minister has compromised national security. He has done what a spy does. He has given defence information to a person who is not supposed to have it,” Gandhi alleged.

“Why don’t you allow a JPC...you can investigate us as much as you want,” he said in response to a question. —With PTI inputs

He’s lobbying for foreign firms: BJP

New Delhi, February 12

The BJP today accused Congress chief Rahul Gandhi of working as a “lobbyist” for foreign firms and asserted the e-mail he cited to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale fighter jet deal referred to some helicopter deal and not this particular purchase. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, while dismissing Gandhi’s charges as “height of shamelessness and irresponsibility”, labelled him a “lying machine”.

Prasad said aircraft manufacturer Airbus, whose internal e-mail was cited by Gandhi, was itself under a needle of suspicion in deals finalised during the previous Congress-led government.

The firm, he alleged, was also linked to a corporate lobbyist, who was recently deported from the UAE and was being probed on money laundering charges. “Let Rahul Gandhi explain where he got the internal e-mail of Airbus from? Who is supplying him? There cannot be a bigger thing than this that he is working as a lobbyist for foreign firms,” Prasad said.

Prasad said the BJP has had differences with former Prime Ministers from the Gandhi family over several “murky” defence deals signed during their tenure, but had never accused them of treason. “He (Rahul Gandhi) has thrown muck at his own face by abusing our honest Prime Minister. We will expose his lies before the public,” he said. — TNS

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