After BJP’s attack on Rahul Gandhi over Rafale deal secrecy, Congress’ comeback

The Congress party said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman “misled” the nation over the Rafale deal.

india Updated: Jul 23, 2018 18:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Narendra Modi,Privilege motion
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)

The Congress is likely to move in the Lok Sabha a privilege motion against defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman for “misleading the House” on the Rafale deal, a senior party leader Monday.

The party, however, was undecided about moving a similar motion against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters that the party’s Lok Sabha leadership will take a call on moving privilege motions against the Prime Minister and the defence minister over the Rafale deal.

The price of the aircraft has been a bone of contention between the Congress and the government. While the Congress has been insisting that the government disclose the price, the latter insists that it can’t because of a secrecy clause in the deal with France.

At a press conference, Anand Sharma insisted there was a scam that the government wants to hide.

“French govt’s statement clarifies that price was not a part of the secrecy clause. French govt mandates that the price should be revealed. The price disclosed by Defence Minister before gives an approximate figure of ₹670Cr, which doesn’t add up. Prime Minister Modi now backtracking on the issue now claiming secrecy clause only proves there is a scam,” Sharma said.

“Same aircraft was sold to Egypt and Qatar with lesser cost. In new deal, price has gone up from ₹526Cr in UPA regime to ₹1670Cr under Modi govt. This is definitely a scam,” he said. “PM Modi must confirm or deny in the Parliament that after returning from France the deal was changed without informing CCS.”

The Congress also took on the government for being cagey about the price of the aircraft.

“I have revealed in Parliament prices of many defence contracts because under the Constitution government cannot deny revealing the prices as they are scrutinised at various levels,” senior Congres leader and former defence minister A K Anthony said. “When there is no secret deal that prevents revealing the prices, how can they keep it a secret?”

Antony said the rise in the price of the aircraft was not justified.

“There is no transfer of technology in this new deal, so it doesn’t substantiate the rise in price of aircrafts”

First Published: Jul 23, 2018 14:13 IST