Congress president Rahul Gandhi continued his attack on the government over the Rafale aircraft deal alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not revealing details because there was something “fishy” in the deal. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, he said, had earlier said she would disclose all details about the pricing but was now saying she could not do so as it was a state secret. “Which of her two statements are correct because she has made both statements,” he asked.
“Rafale maamle main kuch na kuch gadbadi to hui hain. We had asked three questions to the Prime Minister but there is no answer,” he said. “There can be only one answer and it is that there is something fishy about this.”
Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters the government’s argument that there was a confidentiality clause in the agreement was specious. “We reject that. It is specious argument to hide what the country must know that how you have paid three times more, how HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) has been denied… What was rightfully to be given to them to make 108 aircraft and to get technology and Rs 36,000 crore offset,” he said.
He said the government had been arguing that it was an emergency purchase. “We reject that. Why not even a single aircraft has come, if it was an emergency purchase. Who is responsible for this loss to the country? It is not the quantum of loss, it is the intent and the loss,” he said.
“We will persist with our questions. This has to be investigated. This must be investigated. Accountability must be fixed… The Prime Minister has a habit of taking with him big industry leaders, who owe Rs 90,000 crore or Rs 1 lakh crore to the PSBs as NPAs and then using his good offices to get them allocation of mines or contracts from other countries,” he said. “I charge the Prime Minister with political corruption…”
The Prime Minister, he claimed, is also directly guilty of violating the defence acquisition procedures. “There was no discussion in the Cabinet Committee on Security to resign the earlier global tender and the contract. CCS approval was post-facto after his return from Paris when he had already arbitrarily taken a wrong decision and announced it,” he said.