Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the Modi government of threatening journalists over India’s Dassault Rafale fighter jet deal with France.
In a tweet posted on Monday, 30 July, the 48-year-old Gandhi scion pointed finger at Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing him as “Supreme Leader”.
“Supreme leader’s minions are now sending threatening messages to journalists reporting on the #RafaleScam asking them to ‘back off or else…’,” wrote Gandhi on Twitter.
“I’m really proud of the few brave press people who still have the guts to defend the truth and stand up to Mr 56,” he said referring to the ‘56-inch chest’ jibe the PM’s detractors take at Modi.
Supreme leader’s minions are now sending threatening messages to journalists reporting on the #RafaleScam asking them to “back off or else…”.
I’m really proud of the few brave press people who still have the guts to defend the truth and stand up to Mr 56.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 30, 2018
Gandhi did not take any names. There was no mention of which journalists he was referring to when he spoke of the threat.
The Congress chief, however, has been raising questions on the deal.
On Sunday, Gandhi said that he smelled a scam in the Rafale deal because of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s “flip-flops” and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “squirming”.
“Our Defence Minister said she would, but now she won’t. She flip flops between “it’s-not-a-secret” & “it’s-a-BIG-secret”,” said Gandhi referring to Sitharaman’s 2017 press conference in which she said the Ministry will share pricing details.
“The PM squirms when asked about the price of RAFALE and refuses to look me in the eye. Sure smells like a scam. #RAFALEscam,” said Gandhi.
Read More: Rahul Gandhi smells a scam in Rafale deal
During the no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha on 20 July, Gandhi had said that French President Emmanuel Macron had told him personally that there was no secret pact between the two governments while Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said there was.
But hours later the French government issued a statement countering his claims. In a statement issued in Paris, the French government said that a security agreement in 2008 legally binds India and France to protect information provided by the other than can impact security and operational capacities of the defence equipment of the two countries.
According to the deal, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to receive 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets in fly-away conditions from France that would provide a fillip to its depleting number of squadrons.