In a controversial statement, National Congress Party (NCP) leader Jitendra Awhad on Monday said Manohar Parrikar is the first victim of politically sensitive Rafale fighter jet deal, which has been at the centre of an Indian political storm from the last few months. Awhad's statement came a day after Parrikar breathed his last at his private residence near Panaji.
"Manohar Parrikar was a very educated and well read person. I think after Rafale deal he did not feel right so he decided to go back to Goa. He was sad. I should not say this as he is not here today but I feel he is the first victim of the Rafale Deal," the NCP leader said.
In early January, Parrikar's name was dragged in the context of the Rafale deal after the Congress claimed to have an audio recording of a Goa minister quoting Manohar Parrikar as saying that files related to the Rafale jet deal were "in his bedroom".
Manohar Parrikar, who was defence minister before becoming Goa chief minister in 2017, tweeted that the audio clip was a "desperate attempt to fabricate facts". The minister supposedly on tape, Vishwajit Rane, also alleged that it was doctored.
Jitendra Awhad is a member of the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra. He represents the Mumbra constituency as a Nationalist Congress Party member in the Vidhan Sabha. Awhad has previously served as Cabinet Minister of Medical Education and Horticulture in the Maharashtra state cabinet.
For those underved, the Rafale deal controversy is a political controversy in India related to the purchase of 36 multirole fighter aircraft for a price estimated at 7.8 billion euro by the Defence Ministry of India from France's Dassault Aviation.
It has been a quite long time that Congress President Rahul Gandhi is alleging that PM Modi ran a parallel negotiation with France bypassing the MoD’s procedures to clinch the deal to benefit his industrialist friends.
The party also claimed that Modi’s rafle deal was not on "better terms" than the offer made by Dassault Aviation during the procurement process for 126 aircraft under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government (UPA) government.