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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Desperate attempt to fabricate facts: Manohar Parrikar on ‘Rafale tape’

Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane, whose voice is purportedly heard in the audio clip, said it was doctored as he called for a probe.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2019 17:19 IST
Gerard de Souza
Gerard de Souza
Hindustan Times, Panaji
Ailing Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar at the State Secretariate in Panaji on January 1.
Ailing Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar at the State Secretariate in Panaji on January 1.(PTI Photo)
         

Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar has called the release of an audio tape featuring a state minister reportedly quoting him on the Rafale fighter jet deal by Congress as “a desperate attempt to fabricate facts.”

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala released the audio tape with a conversation purportedly between Goa minister Vishwajit Rane and another person, who has not been identified. Rane purportedly can be heard saying that during a cabinet meeting last week Manohar Parrikar said he had a file and all documents relating to the Rafale deal lying in his bedroom and that it needed to be ‘exposed’, Surjewala claimed.

Manohar Parrikar, who was the defence minister when the deal for the 36 jets was signed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also tweeted saying he never discussed the Rafale deal with any of his cabinet members.

“The audio clip released by the Congress party is a desperate attempt to fabricate facts after their lies were exposed by the recent Supreme Court verdict on Rafale. No such discussion ever came up during [the] cabinet or any other meeting,” Parrikar posted on Wednesday.

Read more| Rahul Gandhi opens Rafale debate in Lok Sabha, talks about‘leaked phone call’

Watch |

Rane claimed in a press conference earlier in the day the recording made public by the Congress in New Delhi was doctored and that there was no occasion for the chief minister to raised the Rafale issue in a meeting of the state cabinet.

“There is no question of discussing this subject because we are not related to this subject. Cabinet in Goa or any cabinet minister is not connected with any subject because this subject is a national subject and we have no information about it and there is no reason why we should discuss it,” Rane said.

He said that he has spoken to the chief minister as well BJP president Amit Shah and has sought a probe into the issue.

“Today with new innovation and technology anything can be made in any manner. Somebody asked me from the national media. It’s like a casual conversation. Till today in my history in politics, I’ve not had a casual conversation…

Follow live updates here: BJP ally Shiv Sena raises questions on aircraft deal, Odisha’s BJD joins in

“So one has to be careful and one has to be focused on what one says even casually any conversation cannot take place or even said but this is something to be investigated. And I’m ready to give an explanation if asked for,” Rane said.

The Congress has asked Prime Minister Modi for answers, saying “this is a personal charge against you”. It also asked if this was the reason why a joint parliamentary committee probe was not being ordered.

First Published: Jan 02, 2019 14:58 IST

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