Why can’t PM conduct inquiry against himself in Rafale deal, asks Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday questioned why can’t Prime Minister Narendra Modi conduct an inquiry against himself since it is “clearly written” in the Defence Ministry files that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) carried out “parallel negotiations” in the Rafale jet deal.

“Yes, of course, take action on those involved in these missing documents case but also initiate an inquiry on the PMO making parallel negotiations,” Gandhi said addressing a press conference at the AICC office here.

The Centre had told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that certain documents pertaining to the Rafale deal were stolen from the Defence Ministry.

Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal had made the submission during the hearing on review petitions filed by various parties against its December 14, 2018 judgment in which it had refused to order a probe into the deal to procure 36 Rafale fighter planes from France.

Launching a scathing attack on Modi, the Congress leader said, “On one hand you are saying the documents are missing, so this means the documents are genuine and it is clearly written in them that Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was carrying out parallel negotiations.”

“Why can’t the Prime Minister himself conduct an investigation. If he feels he is not guilty, then why is he not holding an investigation on himself?” Gandhi asked.

“Rafale files disappeared…It was said that an investigation should be conducted against you (media) because Rafale files disappeared; but the person who was involved in Rs 30,000 crore scam, no investigation against him?” he said.

On Wednesday, Gandhi had also demanded a First Information Report (FIR) to be filed against Modi in connection with the deal, adding that there is “enough evidence to prosecute him”.

“There is now enough evidence to prosecute the PM in the Rafale Scam. The trail of corruption begins and ends with him. That crucial Rafale files incriminating him are now reported ‘stolen’ by the Govt, is the destruction of evidence and an obvious cover-up. FIR against Corrupt Modi,” Rahul had tweeted.

On alliances between Congress and other parties ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi said on Thursday that they were on track. In Delhi, the party unit had unanimously decided against any alliance, he added.

Replying to a question on his views on the demand by some Opposition leaders for proof on the casualty figure in the February 26 Balakot air strike, he said, “I won’t talk much about it, but yes I read that families of some of the CRPF personnel who were martyred have raised this issue. They are saying we were hurt, so please show us what happened.”

The Indian Air Force (IAF) had hit a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camp in Balakot in Pakistan in the wake of a suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama on February 14 that killed 40 soldiers. JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack.