New Delhi [India]: Stepping up the attack after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah made snide references, Finance Minister Arun jaitley called Rahul Gandhi a ‘defence deal pusher’ on Saturday and questioned his role in a defence deal awarded during the previous UPA government to a company allegedly linked to his former business partner.
“It is the story of a man who aspired to be a defence deal pusher and today aspires to become India’s PM,” Jaitley said at a press conference at the party headquarters here attacking Gandhi.
Quoting a media report, he said, “In 2002, a company named Backops Service Pvt Ltd with Rahul and Priyanka as its directors was formed. In 2003, a company with the same name was formed in Britain with its directors as Rahul Gandhi (65 per cent stake) and US national Ulrik Mcknight. This is a liasoning company which uses influence for cash.”
Jaitley alleged that Gandhi’s former business partner was awarded the offset contract in the Scorpene-class submarine deal signed during the previous UPA government.
“In 2009, Rahul exits from the company and the Indian company folds its business in 2010. Meanwhile, Ulrik continues to work in the name of other companies. In this period, French company DCNS got a contract to manufacture six Scorpene submarines in India. In this contract, one little known Indian company Flashforge is selected as DCNS’ offset entity in 2011,” Jaitley said.
He said that Ulrik’s companies were acquired by Flashforge before it was awarded the contract.
Seeking a reply from Congress leadership, Jaitley said: “What was his role? Was he a defence dealer, or a disguised defence dealer, or proxy dealer and a facilitator?”
“Why was this company formed in England and with similar names in India? What was its principal job, what are the businesses it did?” he continued.
Punning on the name of the company, Backops, Jaitley said: “What did this Backops mean? That there will be a back office and will help you?”
Earlier, BJP President Amit Shah tweeted on the issue talking about Gandhi’s ‘Midas’ touch while Modi attacked Gandhi on the issue in an election rally.
Gandhi, however, has refuted the charge made in a news article and said that he was ready to face any probe by the government.
Speaking at a press conference earlier in the day, Gandhi said: “Please undertake any investigation you want, do any inquiry you want, I am ready as I know I have not done anything wrong, but please also investigate Rafale.”
Jaitley slammed Gandhi for allegedly making false allegations against the BJP in the Rafale deal case without any substantial evidence.
Notably, Gandhi scion has been considerably vocal against the alleged irregularities in the Rafale jet deal. Congress in its manifesto has promised to probe the case if it comes to power.