In what could bring a new angle to the Rafale controversy, national security sources suggest that a top Congress leader had held meetings with US arms manufacturing firms days before accusations of a scam started flying.

“The Rafale deal was initialled between India and France on September 23, 2016. But the Congress began to raise objections only in November 2017 in the run-up to the Gujarat elections. Pertinently, a top Congress leader, on a US tour just months before the accusations were made, met top executives of US defence firms,” a top government source told MyNation, requesting anonymity.

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MyNation is withholding the names of the leader and the companies as they have not responded to our queries regarding the meeting. MyNation had sent the queries to the Congress leader and the US companies separately two days ago.

The meetings of the Congress leader were arranged by a party member who has had a long association with the US aviation industry, according to the source.

Government sources said it is difficult to understand why the Congress leader held meetings with arms manufacturers “more so, when he is not part of the government". 

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“The Congress leader, in the meetings, was accompanied by a number of young party leaders along with a senior US politician,” the sources said.

The government, it is learnt, is also analysing the role of an Indian corporate leader in the defence industry, who is closely related to a senior Opposition leader. This Opposition has been holding media conferences against the government on the Rafale deal.