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LIVE BLOG

Highlights: Rafale a matter of national security, says Nirmala Sitharaman

The Lok Sabha is debating the Rafale deal, with the Opposition training guns on the government. During the day, the triple talaq bill is also expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha. BJP ally JD(U) on Thursday said it will oppose the Bill in case of...

By HT Correspondent | Jan 04, 2019 18:47 IST
highlights

The Lok Sabha is debating the Rafale deal, with the Opposition training guns on the government, and NDA members strongly defending the same.

Later in the day, the triple talaq bill is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha today. NDA constituent and BJP ally in Bihar, Janata Dal (United), on Thursday said it will oppose the Bill in case voting takes place in the Rajya Sabha.

The Opposition is demanding that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, be referred to a select committee of the House. Voting could not take place earlier due to din by Opposition members.

Watch: Rahul Gandhi asks Nirmala Sitharaman to answer 5 questions posed on Rafale

 

Follow highlights here:

6:00 pm IST

Congress involved in corruption in various defence deals: Anurag Thakur

BJP Lok Sabha MP Anurag Thakur today hit back at the Congress on Rafale issue, alleging that it was involved in corruption in various defence deals and has always kept the interest of “its family ahead of the country”.

5:48 pm IST

Rafale a matter of national security: Sitharaman

Rafale a matter of national security which Congress neglected for 10 years: Nirmala Sitharaman

5:13 pm IST

Congress will launch investigation into Rafale scam if voted to power in 2019: Rahul

Congress will launch investigation into Rafale scam if voted to power in 2019: Rahul Gandhi

5:04 pm IST

Many questions were raised,no questions were answered: Rahul

Many questions were raised. No questions were answered. She (Defence Minister) didn’t take Anil Ambani’s name for 2 hours.I asked if objection was raised by Air Force when PM did bypass surgery? Instead of answering this question,she started a drama, says Rahul Gandhi.

4:49 pm IST

When PM did a by-pass surgery of Rafale deal, did Defence Ministry officials object to the new deal?: Rahul

When Prime Minister Modi did a by-pass surgery of the Rafale deal, did Defence Ministry officials object to the new deal? Yes or no?, asks Rahul Gandhi.

4:38 pm IST

‘Well done, Nirmala Sitharaman ji’ : Arun Jaitley tweets

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweets, “Well done! Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman ji, for an outstanding performance. You demolished the fake campaign. We are all proud of your performance.”

4:24 pm IST

Offset contract under Rafale agreement is governed by policy framed by UPA: Sitharaman

The offset contract under Rafale agreement is governed by policy framed by UPA, says NirmalaSitharaman.

4:23 pm IST

In our case, we will have a company build the other planes: Sitharaman

In our case, we will have a company build the other planes. That could be HAL or DRDO or together - in India under Make in India, says Sitharaman

4:22 pm IST

They were getting 18 in fly-away condition, we are getting 36: Sitharaman

They were getting 18 in fly-away condition, we are getting 36. these were never to be built by HAL, says Nirmala Sitharaman.

4:21 pm IST

The signed contract with AgustaWestland was signed in 2010: Sitharaman

The signed contract with AgustaWestland was signed in 2010, not during AB Vajpayee’s time. A pre-contract integrity pact too was signed in 2008, says Sitharaman.

4:16 pm IST

The agreement signed has nothing to do with NDA: Sitharaman

The agreement was signed in 2010. A pre-contract integrity pact was signed in 2008. It has nothing to do with NDA, says Sitharaman

4:12 pm IST

Details of money are not being given to the people: Rahul Gandhi

I was surprised that the money that belongs to the people of India, details about that are not being given to the people: Rahul Gandhi

4:18 pm IST

Price is not part of the secrecy pact: Rahul Gandhi

Price is not part of the secrecy pact. My question is Anil Ambani was brought in for the contract. Who was the one to decide on Anil Ambani?,asks Rahul Gandhi

4:04pm IST

I am very clear that the Prime Minister is directly accused in the Rafale scam: Rahul Gandhi

I am very clear that the Prime Minister is directly accused in the Rafale scam, says Congress president Rahul Gandhi

3:59 pm IST

Defence Ministry has run without dalals under Modi ji: Sitharaman

Defence Ministry has run without dalals under Modi ji. Bofors is a scam, Rafale is not. It will bring Modi back to remove the corruption which is stinking all around the Congress Party, says Nimala Sitharaman

3:57 pm IST

This government has run four years without any corruption: Sitharaman

This government has run four years without any corruption,says Sitharaman

3:55 pm IST

We did not mislead the Supreme Court: Sitharaman

We did not mislead the Supreme Court, says Nirmala Sitharaman

3:48 pm IST

Sitharaman lists out how NDA deal is better than UPA’s

Overall improvement of five months in delivery of aircraft. Initial performance-based logistics support was for five years for one squadron, ours is two squadrons without additional cost. Increase in performance-based logistics support as well: Sitharaman

3:42 pm IST

How was Congress’ agreement better than our deal: Sitharaman

We told the court there were some misinterpretations. Let us wait for the court’s verdict. How was your (Congress) agreement better than our deal: Sitharaman

3:38 pm IST

Our country cannot afford to be ill-prepared: Sitharaman quotes SC

“The challenge to the pricing of the aircraft by the petitioners is sought to be made on the basis of escalation of costs... To satisfy the conscience of the court, it was directed that the details be placed in sealed covers. The materials placed before us shows that the govt has not disclosed the details other than basic price even before Parliament keeping in mind national security and relations with France... Our country cannot afford to be ill-prepared..”: Sitharaman quotes SC.

3:28 pm IST

No case of commercial favouritism: Sitharaman quotes SC

“No case of commercial favouritism... We have examined closely pricing details, and comparison of prices of basic aircraft along with escalation costs.,” Sitharaman quotes Supreme Court.

3:24 pm IST

No bank guarantee for foreign military sales: Sitharaman

No bank guarantee for foreign military sales. Supreme Court said they did not find any ground to interfere in the deal. “Perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a fishing and roving enquiry by this court, especially in such matters,” Sitharaman quotes Supreme Court judgment.

3:18 pm IST

Joint secretary who raised objections later signed draft: Sitharaman

Joint secretary concerned stated to have raised objections signed the drat that went for CCS approval. He, along with six other members, also signed the contract negotiating committee’s report: Sitharaman

3:14 pm IST

Congress comparing apples with oranges: Sitharaman

The ‘Rs 526 crore’ quote was from 2007. Will it remain the same in 2011 or 2014? There were escalation costs and exchange rate variation. Price of basic aircraft cannot be compared with armoured aircraft. Rs 526 crore can be compared to Rs 737 crore: Sitharaman

3:08 pm IST

Congress quotes different price in different places: Sitharaman

How many times have we seen Congress quoting prices? They quote different prices in public rallies and in Parliament. They must do their homework: Sitharaman

3:04 pm IST

Are they not ashamed of seeking help from Pakistan to remove Modi: Sitharaman

Entire campaign built on falsehoods. One senior Congress MP called the Air chief a liar, they only stopped short of calling the Supreme Court names. Are they not ashamed of seeking help from Pakistan to remove Modi? By asking weapon details of the aircraft you’re buying, they are covered under secrecy pact. How many times have you invoked the secrecy clause? Base price is already out: Sitharaman

2:56 pm IST

Congress misleading nation, making contradictory statements: Sitharaman

“We were told by a Congress spokesperson that we should not be talking on Rafale because its an internal matter. On March 9, before Rahul Gandhi met the French President, the Congress’ spokesperson told the media, ‘Congress will not discuss India’s defence deal with a foreign head of state’.

“In another quote dated July 20, Rahul Gandhi said ‘I asked the French President about this secrecy pact, he denied any such thing. He said he has no issues in disclosing the details of the pact’. One of them is misleading the nation. You can’t say one thing on the floor of the House and have your spokesperson say something else.”

2:52 pm IST

Why did Congress go to Agusta and not HAL: Sitharaman

Why did you go to AgustaWestland for choppers? Why did you not go to HAL? Because HAL won’t give you anything. You are scared because Christian Michel is now in India: Sitharaman

2:46 pm IST

NDA getting more aircraft in fly-away condition: Sitharaman

Congress misleading nation. They wanted 18 aircraft in fly-away condition and the rest to be manufactured in India. We are getting 36 in fly-away condition. The total number of 126 aircraft did not come down. Emergency purchases are only of two squadrons: Sitharaman

2:42 pm IST

We improved HAL production capacity: Sitharaman

Congress did nothing to improve HAL. We did, and now many projects are with HAL, including 83 LCA Tejas, 15 combat choppers, 17 Dornier transport chopper, and others: Sitharaman

2:38 pm IST

Because HAL could not scale up operations, govt decided to give waiver: Sitharaman

Standing committee report says they are disappointed that even after three decades, they could not complete the procedure, Sitharaman reads out. “Because HAL could not scale up operations, govt decided to give waivers—53 waivers.”

2:35 pm IST

Unresolved issues between Dassault and HAL: Sitharaman

There were two unresolved issues. Dassault could not tie up with HAL to manufacture 108 aircraft. There was no agreement. When Dassault wanted to manufacture 108 aircraft, it was told HAL would need 2.7 times more man-hour. Dassault did not stand guarantee for the products either: Sitharaman

2:30 pm IST

Sitharaman accuses Congress of corruption

Who was it who didn’t settle with you and you did not complete the deal, compromising national security. Their treasury’s security was more important: Sitharaman

2:28 pm IST

They didn’t complete deal despite clearance: Sitharaman

Independent monitor cleared process in 2012, but still they did not buy it. Why? They stopped the deal despite knowing air force was suffering: Sitharaman

2:24 pm IST

Congress did not intend to buy aircraft: Sitharaman

Then defence minister asked ‘Where is the money to buy aircraft?’ outside Parliament. I want to ask which money. Money is kept separately even before you sign the agreement. Congress knew payment schedules. They did not intend to buy aircraft till something else was done. Difference between defence dealings and dealing in defence: Sitharaman

2:18 pm IST

We finished negotiation in 14 months: Sitharaman

Inter-governmental agreement signed in 2016. First aircraft to be delivered in 2019, last one in 2022. We finished negotiation in 14 months: Sitharaman

2:14 pm IST

Where was the urgency as mentioned by Congress during their time: Sitharaman

They (Congress) wanted 18 aircraft in fly-away condition. Rest were to be produced in India over 11 years. Where was the urgency as mentioned by you? You couldn’t even get 18 aircraft since 2006: Sitharaman

2:10 pm IST

Neighbours increasing squadrons, ours was depleting: Sitharaman

We have sensitive borders, need timely purchase of ammunition. Post Kargil, we thought our defence forces need more firepower. China added 400 aircraft between 2004 and 2015 — fourth and fifth generation. Pakistan more than doubled aircraft. In 2002, we had 42 squadrons, in 2015, 33 squadrons: Sitharaman

2:06 pm IST

Facts frightening the Congress: Sitharaman

Facts frightening the Congress. Defence purchases are national security related: Nirmala Sitharaman

2:04 pm IST

Nirmala Sitharaman starts speaking

Opposition creates ruckus as soon as defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman starts speaking.

2:00 pm IST

How can there be arbitrary announcement to change Rafale deal: RSP

Rafale is a fit case for JPC. I want to know the relation between Sanjay Bhandari and BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh. Rafale deal delegitimised HAL. How can PM make arbitrary announcement to buy 36 aircraft? Was there demand by defence forces to reduce demand from 126 aircraft to 36 aircraft: Premachandram, RSP

1:52 pm IST

BJP accuses Congress of corruption

OIS had firm in Dubai, which has connections with Robert Vadra. Money was exchanged. There was one Sudhir Choudhary. He is the relative of MP CM. Who is Abhishek Verma: Nishikant Dubey, BJP

1:48 pm IST

Who will be benefitted if there is no Rafale deal: BJP

Who will be benefitted if there is no Rafale deal? Apart from Rafale, there were a few other companies in the contention as well. There is one company called OIS. Its owner is Sanjay Bhandari. He signed offset agreement with Rafale in 2012. Reliance also signed contract. Bhandari has flat in London. His PA is connected to rashtriya damaad: Nishikant Dubey, BJP

1:42 pm IST

Opposition making Rafale a political issue: JD(U)

Dassault made it clear there was no pressure from govt. Opposition making it a political issue. HAL was not competent enough for the deal: Kaushalendra Kumar, JD(U)

1:40 pm IST

Doesn’t suit Congress to speak of patriotism: SAD

It doesn’t suit the Congress to speak of patriotism. They aimed guns at out religious places. It was only during present regime that some accused in anti-Sikh riots have been punished: Prem Singh Chandumajra, Shiromani Akali Dal

1:38 pm IST

SAD defends Rafale deal

No need for JPC. Had the deal been with Italy, the Opposition would not have raised the issue. Congress surprised that the PM could go ahead with the deal without any commission: Prem Singh Chandumajra, Shiromani Akali Dal

1:34 pm IST

We take decisions in national interest: Anurag Thakur

If the defence forces and Supreme Court are satisfied, what is the problem with Congress? If Congress had its way, it would not have strengthened the defence forces. Even the Supreme Court said that we can’t afford an ill-equipped force. We take decisions in national interest: Anurag Thakur

1:32 pm IST

Anurag Thakur targets Congress on Christian Michel issue

Anurag Thakur targets Congress on Christian Michel issue. “They (Congress) looked for deal in defence deal, so they could not get anything. We revived the deal,” he says.

1:26 pm IST

All Congress scams used for election funding: Anurag Thakur

BJP’s Anurag Thakur targets Congress over National Herald and 2G scams. “All Congress scams used for election funding. Congress put family over national interest,” he says.

1:22 pm IST

Anurag Thakur targets Congress over Bofors and AgustaWestland

BJP’s Anurag Thakur targets Congress over Bofors and AgustaWestland. He accuses Opposition of pursuing personal interests over national security.

1:20 pm IST

Anurag Thakur leads BJP charge

Congress took more than 20 days to prepare for the debate. When the Opposition brought forward a leader to lead the discussion, it was a confused and a corrupt leader, who is out on bail. Woh 20 minute mein 20 jhooth bol kar chale gaye: Anurag Thakur, BJP

1:06 pm IST

Centre misguided Supreme Court and public: Kharge

The affidavit submitted by the Centre before the Supreme Court is wrong. Centre misguided Supreme Court and public. This is the reason we demand JPC: Kharge

1:04 pm IST

Where is the CAG report: Kharge

Where is the CAG report? Law department objected to the deal. Defence acquisition committee also opposed the deal. Despite this, the contract was handed over to Reliance: Kharge

1:02 pm IST

We demand JPC as we suspect there is corruption in Rafale deal: Kharge

Reliance Infrastructure said the same thing. We got the figures from them. Bank said advance payments were not secure. Therefore, we demand JPC as we suspect there is corruption in this deal: Kharge

1:00 pm IST

PM Modi waived guarantees in Rafale deal: Kharge

PM Modi waived guarantees in Rafale deal. Reliance itself said in an investment conference that it bagged the largest offset contract worth Rs 30,000 crore for 126 aircraft: Mallikarjun Kharge

12:55 pm IST

Mallikarjun Kharge targets govt over Rafale deal

Congress leader of Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge targets govt over Rafale deal. He accuses govt of increasing base price.