Rafale deal: BJP tears into Congress over Sanjay Bhandari’s involvement

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday countered the Congress’ allegations of foul play in the Rafale deal by cornering them over United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra and his associates Sanjay Bhandari’s alleged involvement in the deal.

Addressing a press conference here, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “There is no corruption case in the country that, in the end, does not lead back to the Congress. Their desperation over the Rafale deal can be explained by two reasons, first that after many years, the Gandhi family did not get a commission, and secondly, they have tried a lot but are failing to launch Rahul Gandhi.”

He further stated that Sanjay Bhandari, an alleged arms dealer, wanted to be part of the deal that the UPA government had signed with Dassault. However, since it could not materialise, theUPA government which was ruling then, decided to end the deal.

“Bhandari is close with Robert Vadra. Bhandari’s company ‘Offset India Solutions’ was red flagged in 2014 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government because of his illicit activities. We want Congress president Rahul Gandhi to answer some questions we put forth today. Confidential documents of the Ministry of Defence were recovered from Bhandari during raids in 2016 at 18 different locations, including documents pertaining to the Rafale deal. How did these confidential documents reach there?” he said.

Patra also divulged details about transactions made between Bhandari and Vadra, including a mansion worth Rs 19 crore that was bought in London by Bhandari’s associated for Vadra.
“Two emails were sent to Bhandari with travel tickets worth Rs. 8 lakh for Vadra for an Emirates Flight. First mail was sent on August 7, 2012, has details of Vadra’s travel plan for August 13 by flight no. EK71. This proves Bhandari booked tickets for Vadra while the Pilatus trainer aircraft deal was being negotiated so that Rahul and the Congress’ friend (Bhandari) can be a part of it,” Patra said.

The Congress and the BJP have been trading allegations over the heated Rafale deal. The Congress has been using ex-French President Francois Hollande’s statement as ammunition to hit out at the BJP.

On September 22, Hollande said the Indian government nominated Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as a partner. However, a statement from Dassault Aviation claims that Reliance Defence was chosen in compliance with the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 regulations.
The BJP, meanwhile, is singling out irregularities in the deal signed by the UPA to mount an assault on the Congress.