Manohar Parrikar was the defence minister when Rafale jet deal took place. (File)
The Congress's claim that it has in its possession a tape in which Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is allegedly saying that he had Rafale files in his bedroom has caused a major controversy. Mr Parrikar's dismissal of the Congress charges couldn't deter the Goa unit from mounting a piercing attack, demanding that Home Minister Rajnath Singh must order a raid on Mr Parrikar's bedroom.
"In national interest, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh should order the agencies under his Ministry and other central agencies to raid Parrikar's house and his bedroom to seize the files in his possession," Siddhanath Buyao, Congress spokesperson, said.
"This is a very serious matter. We have to get to the bottom of this. Rane and other ministers who were present at the Cabinet meeting, where Parrikar made those comments about the Rafale files, should be subjected to a lie detector test," he added.
The Congress claimed that Mr Parrikar had said at a meeting of the Goa cabinet that no one could remove him as "all the Rafale papers are in my flat, in my bedroom". Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala played an audio tape, the authenticity of which cannot be verified by NDTV, in which Vishwajit Rane is apparently talking to an unknown person about a three-hour cabinet meeting and saying "keep it confidential".
A voice said to be Mr Rane's says that the chief minister "made a very interesting statement, that I have all the information of Rafale in my bedroom". The other person is heard reacting: "What are you saying!" To which, the minister says: "…You can cross-check with somebody you are close to in the cabinet. This is something he said, that means he is holding them to ransom…He said it is in my bedroom here only in my flat, each and every document on Rafale."
Manohar Parrikar tweeted that the audio clip was a "desperate attempt to fabricate facts". The minister supposedly on tape, Vishwajit Rane, says the tape is doctored and that Mr Parrikar "never made any reference to Rafale".
Mr Parrikar was the defence minister of the country when India and France entered into the Rafale jet deal. In 2017, his party cobbled an alliance in Goa to form a government. The BJP's regional allies reportedly demanded that Mr Parrikar be made the chief minister of the state.
Last year, Mr Parrikar fell seriously ill with a pancreatic condition, and is facing opposition protest with demands of his removal as the Goa Chief Minister.
The Congress is demanding a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe in the Rafale jet deal, alleging corruption and crony capitalism. The Congress alleges that the state-run HAL was ignored to make way for Reliance Defence, a company owned industrialist Anil Ambani, for an offset deal. The party also claims that the cost of the deal was inflated, demanding that the cost should be made public.
Today in parliament, Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, posing a series of questions that he said the PM had "no guts" to answer, Union Minister Arun Jaitley ripped into the Congress chief, accusing him of lying and raising the AgustaWestland deal, the National Herald case and Bofors issue to target is family.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal