Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi-INS Viraat issue.

Two days ago, Mr. Modi claimed in a poll rally that Rajiv Gandhi used aircraft carrier INS Viraat for a personal holiday in 1987 along with his family, and on Thursday, the then brass of the Navy and the warship denied the comment, stating that Rajiv Gandhi was on-board for an official trip enroute to Lakshadweep.

Mr. Chidambaram tweeted, “Another lie of Mr Narendra Modi blown away. Top officers of Navy have testified that Mr Rajiv Gandhi was on an official visit to INS VIRAAT.”

Ramdas’ Letter

In an open letter, former Navy Chief Admiral L Ramdas (Retd), who was then heading the Kochi-based Southern Naval Command, said Rajiv Gandhi was on-board the carrier in his official capacity as Prime Minister. Separately, Vice Admiral Vinod Paricha (Retd), who was then Captain of INS Viraat, told the media that the claim was totally wrong and all protocols were followed.

Mr. Chidambaram said, “I am curious: who feeds these lies to the Prime Minister? Why does the PM repeat the lies without verifying the facts?”.

The senior Congress leader also responded to Mr. Modi’s charge that there were no official records of a surgical strike during the United Progressive Alliance rule. “If PM did not find evidence of cross-border actions under the UPA government that means information is being held back from him. Why doesn’t he speak to the General who said ‘this is not the first time and this will not be the last’?”, he said.