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Omar Abdullah wishes to see explanation for Defence Ministry's note on Rafale

Omar Abdullah wishes to see explanation for Defence Ministry's note on Rafale

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 08 Feb 2019, 10:34 am

New Delhi, Feb 8 (IBNS): Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said he would like to see how those aligned with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would explain reports that the Defence Ministry had protested over the mechanism being adopted by the PMO for the Rafale deal. 

With his comment on Twitter, Omar also tagged a document, purportedly of the Defence Ministry, which was published as part of a news report by The Hindu. 

Omar tweeted: "The then Defence Minister @manoharparrikar was clueless about the progress of negotiations. All he could say was “IT APPEARS that @PMOIndia & French President’s office are monitoring the progress”. He had no direct knowledge of progress & passed the buck back to the PMO."

"How can he claim that “para 5 is an over-reaction” when he had no direct knowledge of the status or content of the negotiations? His act of passing the matter for the Def Sec to resolve with PMO clearly shows he had no grounds on which to base his “over-reaction” assessment," he said.

In an earlier tweeted, the former Chief Minister said: "I’d like to see how this one is explained by the talking heads aligned to the BJP. @PMOIndia “weakened the negotiating position of the Ministry of Defence & the Indian Negotiating Team” as per this note in a MOD file that went up the the Defence Minister."

Countering opposition leader Rahul Gandhi's attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over The Hindu report claiming the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) held separate parleys with France over the Rafale deal, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Congress is flogging a dead horse.

"The Rafale deal was fully discussed in the house," Sitharaman said while she was speaking in the parliament.

The Hindu report on Friday stated the Defence Ministry had protested against PMO's separate parleys with the French government over the deal of buying of 36 fighters jets from France by India.

The report said the Defence Ministry had objected to PMO's parallel talks with the French government.

Reacting to the report, Sitharaman also said the newspaper did selective reporting by not mentioning then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's statement.

Hurling attack on the Congress, she accused the opposition party of playing a corporate warfare.

Defence Ministry's objection:

The Defence Ministry's objection has been quoted by The Hindu, "We may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays [parleys] with the officers of French Government....in case the PMO is not confident about the outcome of negotiations being carried out by the MoD, a revised modality of negotiations to be led by PMO at appropriate level may be adopted in the case.”

Stating PMO's parallel talks had "weakened the negotiating position of MoD and Indian Negotiating Team," a Defence Ministry brought a note to then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's notice. 

Rahul Gandhi blasts Modi:

Reacting to the development, Rahul said: "For more than a year, we've been saying that PM is directly involved in Rafale scam. Today it is clear that PM himself had been carrying out a parallel negotiation."

The Congress chief also urged the Modi government to probe into cases not only related to any Congress leader but also the Rafale.

"It is clear that Modi is a thief and he has stolen people's Rs. 30,000 crore and gave it to Anil Ambani," he added.

No mention of PMO in Supreme Court:

In the Supreme Court, however, the government had stated a seven-member team headed by the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff conducted the negotiations but did not mention PMO's intervention.

Giving a verdict in favour of the BJP government, the top court had stated due process in singing the deal was followed.

Francois Hollande's claim:

Congress took the matter to the centre stage after former French President Francois Hollande dropped a bombshell saying the the India government proposed Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as the India partner for the 36 Rafale jets deal.