Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, 6 February, trained all guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, alleging corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal. Gandhi’s attack comes after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman refused to disclose details of the deal due to “security” concerns.
Gandhi took to Twitter to take a dig at the association of Reliance Defence with the Modi government in this deal, referring to the owner of Reliance Defence Anil Ambani as the PM’s “reliable” buddy.
He also questioned why the details of the deal would be a threat to national security, and added that all those who question the deal will be called “anti-national”.
Speaking to reporters outside the Parliament later, Gandhi alleged that the prime minister had visited France and got the deal done “personally”. According to PTI, Gandhi said:
Modi ji had personally gone to Paris. Personally the deal was changed. Entire India knows it. And the Defence minister is saying she will not inform India or Indian martyrs and their relatives about the money spent on buying those aircrafts. What does this mean? This only means that there is some scam.
Gandhi also asked the media to be “a little fair,” and question the government about the Rafale deal.
I understand that you are scared and there is a lot of political pressure on you. But please show a little bit of fairness and talk about the Rafale deal too.
Details Cannot Be Shared: Nirmala Sitharaman
The Defence minister, in response to a written question in Rajya Sabha by SP member Naresh Agarwal, refused to disclose the details of the deal in the Parliament, reported PTI.
Citing a “secrecy pact with France” after several questions were raised on the pricing of the combat aircraft, Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha that details like the per aircraft cost cannot be shared.
According to a report by The Print, the Defence minister said:
As per ‘Article 10’ of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between Government of India and Government of France on the purchase of Rafale aircraft, the protection of the classified information and material exchanged under IGA is governed by the provisions of the Security Agreement signed between the two nations in 2008.
“Where Did The Transparency Go Now?” Asks Congress
Addressing a press conference, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "Modi government is indulging in an unforgivable game of compromising 'national interests' and 'national security'.”
The Congress accused the BJP-led government of “complete non-transparency in disclosure of purchase price of aircraft,” and alleged “flagrant violation of the mandatory provisions of 'Defence Procurement Procedure' and prior clearance from 'Cabinet Committee on Security,’’ reported PTI.
“The PM always says that his is a transparent government. Where did all that transparency go now?” asked Azad.
The per aircraft price negotiated by the UPA was Rs 526 crore. As per the information received by us, the per aircraft price during NDA comes to Rs 1,570 crore. We just want to know if this information is true or not. And if it is not true, then tell us what the truth is.Gulam Nabi Azad
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)