Alphabet soup in Lok Sabha, Sitharaman takes a jibe at Congress

New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday launched a scathing attack on the Congress party over the controversial Rafale fighter jets deal, saying that “for every ‘AA’ there is a ‘Q’ and ‘RV’.

On Wednesday, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had said that opposition leader Rahul Gandhi can not name businessman Anil Ambani in his speech in the parliament, to which the Congress president asked, “Ma’am, may I refer to him as AA, then? Is that ok?”

During a heated discussion that unfolded in the Lok Sabha over the deal on Friday, Sitharaman retorted, “Congress did not intend buying the jets. For every ‘AA’ there is a ‘Q’ and ‘RV’, alluding to Robert Vadra and Ottavio Quattrocchi.

Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Rahul Gandhi and whose firm Sunlight Hospitality’s Delhi and Bengaluru offices were recently raided by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with alleged commissions received by some suspects in defence deals.

Ottavio Quattrocchi was an Italian businessman and was wanted in India until early 2009 for acting as a middleman in
the Bofors scandal in the late 1980s.

The Rafale jet deal controversy has been on the boil over the last few months. The Congress and other opposition parties have been alleging irregularities in the high-profile deal for purchase of 36 fighter jets, which the ruling BJP has outrightly denied.