Modi faces calls to quit over Rafale plane deal

The deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015

"The report referring to former French president Mr. Hollande's statement that GoI (government of India) insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified".

Rahul Gandhi further claimed that people in the central government are making false statements "one after the other" to save Prime Minister Modi as he was the one, who signed the contract.

While addressing the press conference here, the Gandhi scion said, "The French government has given a statement which is stating what the procedure is". Hollande responded: "We did not have a say on this subject".

On Friday, the Congress President, while reacting to the explosive revelation made by Former French President François Hollande, said that this conclusively proved that Modi had personally "negotiated & changed" the Rafale deal. Irrespective of their veracity, he points out the remarks has the potential to jeopardize the Rafael deal apart from embarrassing both the French and the Indian government. "I've gone to the Prime Minister's Office only once".

The Indian government proposed Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as a partner in the now-controversial Rafale deal, and France "didn't have a say in the matter", former French president Francois Hollande said in an interview published on Friday.

Asked if the party will seek Modi's resignation, Gandhi said that ministers of the Modi government were speaking "lies" to protect the prime minister. And the ex-president of France has said that in that meeting I was clearly told that the contract had to go to Mr Ambani.

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Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, had chosen Reliance Defence as its partner to fulfil offset obligations of the deal. We can't expect anything else from Rahul Gandhi. "We did not have a choice, we took the partner who was given to us". "It is reiterated that neither GoI nor French Govt had any say in the commercial decision".

Prasad, as reported by NDTV, also questioned why the Rafale deal during the then UPA government was sent back for re-examination in 2012.

He said the offsets contract was taken away from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and one of its former officials had contradicted Defence Minister Sitharaman's claim about the ability of the organisation to build Rafale jets.

Hollande's comments to "Mediapart", a French language publication, triggered sharp reactions from the opposition parties which have been accusing the government of massive irregularities in the deal and benefiting Reliance Defence Ltd (RDL) despite not having any experience in the aerospace sector.

Pressure from the IAF over the urgent need to replace its fast-depleting squadron of fighter aircraft and the possibility of restarting the entire bidding process if the entire contract with Dassault was to be scrapped led the Modi government to by only 36 Rafale aircraft from the French.

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