Rafale deal turning out to be a ‘mother scam’, govt must come clean: Congress

Union minister Nitin Gadkari refutes charges, saying it is “irresponsible and anti-national” to allege corruption in the deal with France.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2018 16:25 IST
Rafale deal,Congress,Emannuel Macron
A Congress supporter holds a model of Rafale fighter jet as he shouts slogans during a protest against the Rafale jets deal in New Delhi on March 5. (AFP Photo)

On a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with French President Emannuel Macron, the Congress targeted the NDA government over the Rafale deal, alleging that it is turning out to be a “mother scam”, and asked it to come clean.

Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said the “high” price India had paid to France for the purchase of the fighter aircraft compared to prices paid by countries like Egypt and Qatar was not some “charity” and the Modi government should answer as to where the money had gone.

People are asking in whose pockets this money has gone, he told reporters.

Vadakkan said his party had been raising the issue for the last three days. But “not a word from the government or the BJP was heard in response. Not even a denial,” he said.

The BJP had on Friday rejected the Congress’ charge, saying it was spreading “lies and confusion” to mislead the nation. Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said it is “irresponsible and anti-national” to allege corruption in the Euro 7.5 billion deal with France to supply the fighter jets.

“Where is the corruption? It is irresponsible and anti-national to make such allegations,” he said speaking at a media event.

However, the Congress again raked up the issue today and likened the government’s stand to a cat drinking milk with its eyes shut in the belief that nobody will watch it.

“The government, the defence ministry must come clean. What are they trying to hide?” he asked.

“You called the UPA corrupt.... If this is not corruption then what is. It is turning out to be a mother scam on which the NDA must come clean,” he said.

“This was clearly an attempt to cover up an operation which started on last April 8 last when the foreign secretary had said that the prime minister was not going to France for the Rafale deal but it was later signed,” Vadakkan alleged.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 16:25 IST