Former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal Parrikar on Monday criticised Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar for claiming that the late Bharatiya Janata Party leader resigned as defence minister because of the Rafale jet deal.
He said in a letter to Pawar that the remark was an “unfortunate and insensitive attempt” to use his father’s name “to push blatant falsehoods for political gains”, ANI reported.
Pawar had told reporters last week that Parrikar, who died after a battle with pancreatic cancer in March, resigned as the defence minister in 2017 because the deal between India and France was not acceptable to him. Parrikar had quit as defence minister when he moved to Goa as the chief minister in March 2017.
“I am shocked, saddened and dismayed as Mr Pawar, such a senior and seasoned leader and who was himself a defence minister should speak like this, particularly when he knows that my father is not around to reply to his statement,” Utpal Parrikar said in a letter to Pawar, The Hindu reported.
“Even when my father was alive, and courageously fighting his illness, certain political leaders dragged his name for petty politics,” Utpal Parrikar wrote. “That time my father had given a fitting reply to such insinuations and innuendo.”
Utpal Parrikar said that his father was an honest politician who worked in the best interest of the country, and was one of the “chief architects” of the Rafale deal. He claimed that Pawar’s remarks were part of a “malicious misinformation campaign that seems to hinder the strengthening of our Armed Forces”.
The Opposition has alleged that the Narendra Modi government helped businessman Anil Ambani get the offset contract in the Rafale deal.
In January, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi claimed that Parrikar told him during a meeting between the two that he had nothing to do with the deal signed by the National Democratic Alliance government. Parrikar, however, denied that the two had discussed the agreement.
Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear review petitions against its verdict rejecting a CBI probe into the agreement.