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Many days and counting, Rafale tape ticking, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress chief says govt inaction suggests ‘authenticity’

By Arnab Ganguly in Mumbai

  • Published 29.01.19, 2:50 AM
  • Updated 29.01.19, 2:50 AM
Rahul Gandhi had said on January 2 — after the Congress had released the purported tape — that the Goa CM was “blackmailing and threatening” PM Modi
Rahul Gandhi had said on January 2 — after the Congress had released the purported tape — that the Goa CM was “blackmailing and threatening” PM Modi (Prem Singh)

Rahul Gandhi on Monday said an alleged audiotape featuring a purported telephone conversation between a Goa minister and an unidentified journalist on the Rafale scam was “authentic”, bringing the spotlight back on an explosive claim he had made earlier this month.

“30 days since the Goa Audio Tapes on RAFALE were released no FIR or enquiry ordered. No action against the Minister either! It’s obvious that the tapes are authentic & that Goa CM, (Manohar) Parrikar, is in possession of explosive RAFALE secrets, that give him power over the PM,” the Congress president tweeted.

Rahul had said on January 2 — after the Congress had released the purported tape — that Parrikar was “blackmailing and threatening” Prime Minister Narendra Modi because the Goa chief minister had all the information on the Rafale deal.

Parrikar was the defence minister when the controversial deal was signed. He moved to Panaji after the BJP cobbled a coalition to form the government in 2017.

But Rahul had told Parliament he could not “authenticate” the tape when he had sought permission to play it inside the House.

From Monday’s tweet it appeared that Rahul was implying that inaction on the part of the BJP-led Goa government supported the claim about the veracity of the tape.

“We have been demanding a probe. If it is a fake, let the government arrest and punish those involved. Why are they not doing so? Because they know the tape is true,” Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar said.

Repeated calls to Goa police chief Muktesh Chander went unanswered. A day after the tape was released, Chander had told this newspaper he was unaware of any probe into the matter.

In the purported tape that Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had released on January 2, a voice resembling that of Goa health minister Vishvajeet Rane is heard telling the unidentified journalist that the chief minister had claimed during a cabinet meeting that files related to the Rafale deal were lying in his “bedroom”.

In the purported tape, the caller appears to imply that chief minister Parrikar was blackmailing Modi and BJP national chief Amit Shah.

Rane had demanded a probe but Goa police are yet to start one.

“The home department is held by the chief minister. How can we start any probe without a nod from him?” a Goa police officer asked. “We have not asked why the chief minister has not given the orders to probe the tape.”

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