Does the Goa chief minister have in his possession a copy of a secret and sensitive file on the Rafale deal? And is that the reason why Manohar Parrikar is not being replaced as chief minister despite his obvious ill health?
The Goa chief minister has been in the news in recent months for holding a cabinet meeting at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, where he was undergoing treatment. In photographs released by the Goa Government, he looked frail and ill. In yet another photograph, ostensibly to show that there is nothing wrong with him, the ailing chief minister was seen conferring with officials on a bridge even as he appeared to be receiving saline or glucose in drips.
Asked by the media for comments on reports that Mr Parrikar had blurted out about the Rafale file in a cabinet meeting last week, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala called upon the former defence minister to come clean and clarify. He had also heard the report, said the Congress spokesperson, and wondered what the secret file could possibly contain.
“Does Mr Parrikar really have many secrets about the Rafale deal in his possession?” is a question, Surjewala said, that Mr Parrikar alone could answer.
“The nation would like to know, whether that is a correct fact? The people of India will like to know whether the reason for non removal of Shri Manohar Parrikar despite his ill health and incapacity to perform as Chief Minister of Goa, is some dirty secretes hidden in the Rafale file which neither Prime Minister Modi want to show to the Supreme Court nor want to show to the JPC, which the opposition is demanding,” he added.
If the statement attributed to Mr Parrikar were correct, he pointed out, then the country would like to know what are the secrets hidden in the file and why are they so sensitive that they cannot be presented to the Parliament or to the Supreme Court? Is this why the Government is not agreeing to a probe of the Rafale deal by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)?