Congress wanted Robert Vadra’s firm to broker Rafale deal in 2008, claims BJP lawmaker

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The war of words over the controversial Rafale deal on Monday escalated further with the ruling BJP on Monday dragging Congress president Rahul Gandhi The BJP has alleged that the deal couldn Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi, senior BJP leader and Union minister Gajendra Shekhawat claimed that the Congress chief was levelling baseless allegations and plotting the annulment of the deal because he wants to help Vadra. Addressing a press conference in the national capital, Shekhawat said that Vadra wanted the Congress government to award the deal to his businessman friend Sanjay Bhandari in order to help him but it could not do so. Shekhawat also alleged that the hue and cry by the Congress over the defence deal is part of a larger conspiracy to get the deal scrapped and lower the morale of the Indian Air Force. But when it could not do so, the Congress party is now trying to annul the deal to take revenge, Shekhawat claimed that Bhandari and Vadra are close friends and have been seen at various defence expos and exhibitions in the past. According to Shekhawat, Dassault Aviation – the maker of Rafale fighter jets, had refused to work with Robert Vadras company in 2008. He alleged that the Gandhi family, under pressure from Vadra, wanted Dassault to work with his company, namely Offset India Solutions. The then (UPA) government wanted that the French firm should accept it (Vadras company) as the middleman. But since it did not materialise, the deal with Dassault was cancelled, Watch video: Gajendra Shekhawat press conference The BJPs allegations come even as it faces fire from the Congress party over allegations of corruption in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. The party has alleged corruption on the part of the BJP government in signing the deal and has claimed that it was signed in haste to favour Anil Ambani The party has now sought a probe into the matter by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), but the BJP has rejected the demand and accused the grand old party of compromising with national security.