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PM questions Michel’s role in stalled Rafale deal
Chennai: In a stinging counter-attack on the Rafale issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday accused the Congress of stalling defence procurement if there was “no deal” for it.
He also said the alleged middleman Christian Michel was close to the Congress first family and the people deserved to know the role played by him in the 10-year delay over the Rafale deal during UPA regime.
Modi said many people think that the biggest failure of Congress was mismanagement of the economy and corruption.
“But they did deep damage to our armed forces. Not many know how much damage Congress culture did to our defence sector for decades. They had made the defence sector a den of Bofors and brokers and middlemen.
“In their government, procurement would only happen if there was a deal. If there was no deal their approach was to simply stop buying anything for the armed forces,” Modi said in response to a question.
Modi said when India’s neighbours were strengthening their forces with fourth and fifth generation fighters, the then Congress government stalled defence procurement.
“What was the Congress government doing at that time? It stalled Defence procurement for want of its deal while our neighbours increased capacity. Congress actually decreased ours. Such huge damage to the defence forces, all for the sake of a deal,” Modi alleged.
Referring to negotiations to purchase 126 Rafale fighter jets during the UPA regime, Modi claimed Michel, being probed over the AugustaWestland chopper deal, had access to inside information like the timing of a cabinet meet on security and a government file on a related matter.
“Do you know who this middleman is close to? This middleman is close to the current first family of the Congress.” (PTI)