Rafale Audio Clip Row: Goa Congress demands raid in Parrikar's bedroom (File Photo)
The controversy over Rafale fighter jet deal reached a new high after the Congress on Wednesday released a purported audio clip in which Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is allegedly claiming to have a complete file on Rafale with all relevant details and therefore, he can't be disturbed. In the meantime, the burning question is - what information is there in Parrikar's bedroom and how it could impact the Narendra Modi government. Amid this growing controversy, the Goa Congress demanded that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh should order a raid in Parrikar's bedroom to search and seize the files related to the Rafale fighter jet deal.
In a statement, Congress spokesperson Siddhanath Buyao said, "In the national interest, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh should order the agencies under his Ministry and other central agencies to raid Parrikar's house and his bedroom to seize the files in his possession".
"This is a very serious matter. We have to get to the bottom of this. Rane and other ministers who were present at the Cabinet meeting, where Parrikar made those comments about the Rafale files, should be subjected to a lie detector test," Buyao added.
Giving another edge to the controversy, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala came out with a conversation purportedly between Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and another unidentified person regarding the alleged claim by Parrikar.
Surjewala quoted Rane as saying, "The chief minister made a very interesting statement, that I have all the information of Rafale in my bedroom....that means he is holding them to ransom. He said it is in my bedroom here only in my flat, each and every document on Rafale".
Parrikar on his part is threatening and blackmailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Rafale fighter jet deal in a way, Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged. The Lok Sabha on Wednesday witnessed high drama after Gandhi sought Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's permission to play the purported conversation between the two.
As tempers ran high in the Lok Sabha, Rane termed the audio clip as "doctored" and fake and told BJP president Amit Shah that he has asked the state government to order an inquiry into the matter. Parrikar, on the other hand, dubbed it a desperate attempt to fabricate facts after the Supreme Court exposed the "lies" of the opposition party.
Taking to Twitter, Parrikar wrote, "The audio clip released by the Congress party is a desperate attempt to fabricate facts after their lies were exposed by the recent Supreme Court verdict on Rafale. No such discussion ever came up during Cabinet or any other meeting".
The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation. It has been quite a long time now that the Congress has been demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe in the matter, alleging that the cost of the deal was inflated. It also accused the government of ignoring state-run HAL in order to make way for Reliance Defence, a company owned industrialist Anil Ambani, for an offset deal.