Published: Mon, November 20, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Rafale deal: Nirmala Sitharaman slams Congress, calls allegations 'shameful'

Rafale deal: Nirmala Sitharaman slams Congress, calls allegations 'shameful'

He asked her whether PM Modi had taken permission from the Cabinet Committee on Security before announcing the purchase of the Rafale fighter aircraft in Paris.

Congress Vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday targeted Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman on Rafale deal, saying it is "shameful" that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is silencing her on revealing details. Is it correct that the per aircraft pricing of Rafale as per UPA negotiation comes to Rs. 526.1 crore as against Modi government's per aircraft negotiated asked Rs. 1,570.8 crore as per current exchange rate? We have negotiated for 36 French fighter aircraft Rafale (at a price) lower than that in the contract.

TALKING TO media here, Ms Sitharaman said, "The decision to buy 36 Rafale aircrafts was taken following the due procedure".

Rahul questioning why the deal given to a businessman with "no experience" is a repeat of a question he tweeted also two days ago on Thursday: "Can you explain "Reliance" on someone with nil experience in aerospace for Rafale deal?"

Sitharaman said she has asked CII officials to hold discussions with the state government and chart out a plan.

While the Congress was alleging that a scam was brewing in the deal, the BJP claimed that the renegotiated deal was transparent and better than the deal negotiated by the previous UPA government.

The Congress had accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of "misleading" the nation on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal by not making public the price of the aircraft, and alleged a "cover-up".

"That was the grim situation when this government came to power in 2014 and, therefore, we had to move forward so that the air force is not left with unattended requirements for the sake of preparedness", she said. Indian Air Force bases at Ambala in Haryana, close to the western border, and Hashimara in West Bengal, close to the China border, are set to home the squadrons of Rafale fighters.

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