Rahul reiterates corruption charge in Rafale purchase, questions PM’s silence
New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) Continuing to attack the Narendra Modi government on the Rafale deal, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that there has been a “corruption” in the defence deal and will be “exposed”.
Questioning the silence of the Prime Minister over the issue, he also asked why did Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman change her stance over revealing the price of the fighter aircraft.
“Sidhi baat hai. Rafale mamle me bhrashtachar hua hai…niklega…aur Pradhanamntri udhar dekh rahe hain (It is simple. There has been corruption in Rafale issue and the Prime Minister is looking other way,” Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament.
He said he wanted to ask about it in the Parliament but he was not allowed and the house was adjourned, adding Modi spoke for about an hour on Wednesday but did not utter a word about Rafale.
“He (Modi) spoke about last 70 years but didn’t say anything about Rafale. We asked it to (Finance Minister Arun) Jaitelyji ut he had no answer,” he said.
The Congress President said that the government need to answer three questions about Rafale issue.
“Whether he (Modi) himself took the decision in Paris or took permission from Cabinet Committee on Security? Yes or not. What was the reason behind giving the contract to a businessman rather than HAL? and what was the price?
Gandhi also posed the questionon Twitter and followed it with choices.
“Why did the Raksha Mantri change her stance from: I will reveal the price of the Rafale planes in November 2017 to the price is a state secret in February 2018. A. Corruption B. To protect Modiji C. To protect Modiji’s friend D. All of above,” he tweeted.
Sitharaman told Parliament on Monday that the details of the deal with France for the Rafale fighter jets cannot be disclosed as per the inter-governmental agreement as it is “classified information”.
Earlier, replying to Congress charges over Rafale during the Budget debate, Jaitley said the Congress was trying to manufacture a scam in Rafale fighter jet purchase because it had not been able to find any corruption case in the Narendra Modi government’s tenure so far.
He also quoted a number of written replies in Parliament by Ministers from the then UPA governments including Pranab Mukherjee and A.K. Antony, wherein they had refused to quote the price in defence deals citing security concerns.
“Break-up of cost will tell what weapon systems are there in the deal. These security pacts are inherent part of these defence contracts,” he said.
“They’re compromising national security by asking for details which should not be made public, by which I mean known to the enemy,” Jaitley added.
He also advised the Congress President to “learn” from Pranab Mukherjee “lessons on national security”.