Sitharaman points to ‘FAM’, downplays Rahul’s charge

New Delhi: Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi who filed his nomination papers from Amethi Lok Sabha seat with his entire family by his side, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said the Congress President was accompanied by the “family”, the word used in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal accused Christian Michel’s diary, seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Addressing the media at the BJP headquarters here, Sitharaman said people out on bail accompanied Gandhi during his nomination in an apparent reference to Robert Vadra.

“In Michel’s term, he was accompanied by the family. That is the company. The sitting MP of Amethi is going to file his nominations. Today, he crossed all the lines of decency,” she said.

The ‘FAM’ is the term used in Michel’s diary.

Sithraman’s remarks followed Rahul Gandhi’s attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Supreme Court rejected the preliminary objections raised by the government in the Rafale deal investigations.

Welcoming the judgement, Gandhi after filing his nominations said “truth had prevailed” and challenged the Prime Minister for a debate on the deal.

“An honest Prime Minister on whom there is not one case. Here is this (Rahul) person on bail violating every norms of political deceny and alleging things that the court has never said,” Sitharaman said.

Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by mother Sonia Gandhi, sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and brother-in-law Robert Vadra to the collectorate to file his nomination papers.

On Gandhi’s debate challenge, Sitharaman said first the Congress leader should read the judgement and show those lines in the court order that he has attributed to in his remarks on Rafale.

“Gandhi who quotes things, which are not part of the basic judgement, is challenging an honest Prime Minister. He should at least stop speaking lies,” she said.

Reacting on the court order, Gandhi had said, “A few days ago, the Prime Minister gave an interview to a news channel. On questions related to the Rafale deal, he said the Supreme Court had given him a clean chit. And today the Supreme Court has accepted that there is some corruption in the deal.”

The three-term MP will take on Union Minister and BJP candidate Smriti Irani in Amethi in a virtually direct contest as the SP-BSP-RLD alliance has decided not to put up candidate.