‘Yeh public hai, sab janti hai’: Smriti Irani on Chidambaram’s Rafale charge

Chidambaram said the government has compromised national security by denying the Air Force 90 fighter aircraft and said “India will pay Rs 186 crore more per aircraft” after the new deal.
Union Minister, Smriti Irani address a press conference at BjP headquarter Deendayal Upadhyay Marg, Photos by Amal KS(HT Photo)
Union Minister, Smriti Irani address a press conference at BjP headquarter Deendayal Upadhyay Marg, Photos by Amal KS(HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 18, 2019 06:40 PM IST
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New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

A war of words erupted between the Congress and the BJP on Friday over the Rafale aircraft deal. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram alleged that the government had wronged the country by reducing the number of aircraft under the deal.

Chidambaram said the government has compromised national security by denying the Air Force 90 fighter aircraft and said “India will pay Rs 186 crore more per aircraft” after the new deal.

“Dassault is laughing all the way to the bank as the NDA government has given a free gift to the French firm,” he said.

Union minister Smriti Irani refuted Chidambaram’s charges. “Supreme Court has issued its statement, defence minister has spoken on it, the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) has access to all files...for those who use this for their own political ends, yeh public hai sab janti hai (the public knows it all,” she said.

Chidambaram reiterated the Congress’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the Rafale deal.

Chidambaram’s press conference on Friday came in the backdrop of a report in The Hindu that the government’s decision to buy 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Indian Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.

The Congress has been attacking the NDA government over the multi-crore aircraft deal. In his speeches, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Rafale deal and alleged that there were attempts to remove Alok Verma as CBI chief as he wanted to probe it.

In his counter, PM Modi dared the Congress to come clear on its links with Agusta Westland middleman Christian Michel. “The people of the country deserve to know what role did middleman Michel play in delaying the procurement of Rafale for 10 long years. The people of the country deserve to know what role did middleman Michel play in putting national security in danger,” Modi said in a rally last week.

Alok Verma was removed was removed as the CBI chief last week by a high-powered selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India’s nominee, justice AK Sikri, and the Leader of the single largest Opposition party, Mallikarjun Kharge.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021