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Never spoke to Rahul on Rafale: Manohar Parrikar

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Panaji, Jan 30: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday hit back at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for using their brief meeting for 'petty political gains.

"I feel let down that you have used this visit for your petty political gains. In the 5 minutes you spent with me, neither did you mention anything about Rafale, now did we discuss anything related to it,' he wrote in a letter to Rahul.

Never spoke to Rahul on Rafale: Manohar Parrikar

He also accused Gandhi of lying, and maintained that the subject of the Rafale fighter jet deal had not even come up during their conversation.

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Hours after a "personal visit" to Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar at his office in Panaji, Congress President Rahul Gandhi today claimed that the former Defence Minister had clearly stated he had nothing to do with the "new deal" on Rafale fighter jets, and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Friends, the ex-defence minister Parrikar clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the new deal that was orchestrated by Narendra Modi to benefit Anil Ambani," news agency PTI quoted Rahul Gandhi telling booth-level party workers in Kochi in Kerala.

Rahul Gandhi, however, did not clarify whether the Rafale deal was discussed during his meet with Parrikar, who has been extremely unwell over the past few months with a pancreatic condition.

Gandhi's visit to Parrikar came a day after the Congress chief tweeted about "explosive Rafale secrets that gave the Goa Chief Minister power over the PM". The Congress president has been asking for an inquiry into audio tapes that he says reveal that Manohar Parrikar has files on the Rafale jet deal and so has leverage over his leadership.

The Congress claims to have an audio recording of a Goa minister quoting Mr Parrikar as saying that files related to the Rafale jet deal were "in his bedroom". Parrikar, who was defence minister before becoming Goa chief minister in 2017, had tweeted that the audio clip was a "desperate attempt to fabricate facts". The minister supposedly on tape, Vishwajit Rane, also alleged that it was doctored.

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