The focus has dramatically shifted to Eurofighter Typhoon fighter after Michel's involvement

PM Narendra Modi addresses on the second day of the two-day BJP National Convention, in New Delhi, on Saturday

NEW DELHI: Unleashing his counter-offensive against Congress's attempt to pin the alleged corruption in Rafale deal on him, PM Modi on Saturday said the opposition party was working at the behest of a rival of Dassault, the French manufacturer of fighter aircraft, to manufacture a controversy.

Referring to Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland deal who was handed over to India, Modi told members of BJP's national council that the controversial UK national has disclosed that he was lobbying for another supplier. He talked about Michel's alleged Congress links saying the party had sent its own person to defend him.

"This is the first time a middleman accused of corruption in defence deals has been brought to India. Earlier special planes would be used to spirit away such middlemen of foreign origin. This "Raajdaar" has made the revelations that he was not only involved in helicopter deal but also in the deal for the fighter plane," Modi said and added, "Congress is making noise over Rafale deal as the arrested middleman has revealed that he was lobbying for another supplier."

The remark was seen as a reference to Eurofighter which lost out to Dassault in India's order for multi-role combat aircraft. Important figures in the government have lately been hinting that Congress's campaign against Rafale deal has been inspired by Eurofighter, but this was the first time that the charge had been articulated by PM himself. The PM once again clarified that there had to be difference between fully-loaded fighter plane and the one only in flyaway condition but lamented that the opposition was wilfully glossing over elementary details.

Modi said he has already lived up to his claim to be the "Chowkidar". "There was a time when loans were disbursed through 'Congress processing" that saw the loans from PSBs ballooning from 18 lakh crore disbursed between independence to 2008 to Rs 52 lakh crore in the six-year period ending with the regime change which has seen the recovery of Rs 3 lakh crore . He also referred to the National Herald case and Congress's first family being on bail.