Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, who featured in a controversial audio clip where he says that files linked to the Rafale deal are in Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s bedroom, has been threatened with harm by top BJP leaders, AICC General Secretary A. Chella Kumar said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Congress event in Panaji, Kumar also said that a day before Rane quit the Congress to join the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2017, the lawmaker had met him and informed him about the threats to him and his family.
Rane has, however, said that the claim made by Kumar was “rubbish”.
“‘They are after my family, they are after my life. That is the reason I (Vishwajit) am staying there’. He has told me many times. He has been calling me regularly for a year… I am ready to undergo any test. I am not telling any lies,” Kumar said.
The Congress leader added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah had been intimidating Rane, according to the latter.
Kumar also said that Rane had resigned from the Congress under duress in order to save his family, which was under threat.
“‘I want to save my family’. This is what he told me 24 hours before leaving the party,” Kumar said.
Reacting to Kumar’s comments, Rane accused the Congress leader of “speaking rubbish”.
“I have never heard of anybody being threatened to join the BJP. This may be a part of Congress culture… What Chella Kumar is talking is rubbish and insane. It is only sheer frustration on the part of Chella Kumar,” Rane said.
In the controversial audio clip, which created a ruckus in Parliament, Rane is heard telling a local editor that Parrikar, a former Defence Minister, had in a meeting of Goa Ministers had said that files linked to the Rafale deal were stashed in his bedroom.
Rane has claimed the tape was doctored and Parrikar has denied making the comment.
While Rane has demanded a police probe into the affair in a letter to the Chief Minister, Director General of Police Muktesh Chander has said that no such instruction had been received from the state government to probe whether the audio clip was genuine or doctored.
The Congress, meanwhile, has demanded the sacking of Rane and a probe by central agencies in a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind.