Congress allegation on Rafael deal shameful: Defence Minister Sitharaman

Defence Minister rubbishes Rahul’s allegations on Rafale deal

Your 'boss silencing you' is 'shameful': Rahul Gandhi to Nirmala Sitharaman

Gandhi tweeted, "Did PM take CCS [Cabinet Committee on Security] permission before announcing purchase in Paris?"

Chennai: Flaying the Congress-led UPA regime for "sitting on plans" to buy the Rafale fighter planes from Dassault, a French company, for 10 years, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said after the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power (in 2014) the inter-governmental route was opted for expeditious procurement of 36 Rafale fighters in fly-away condition.

"Allegations relating to the Rafale deal are shameful, the deal was finalised following a transparent procedure", added Sitharaman.

But Sitharaman, despite repeated and pointed questions, did not provide the "comparative costs per aircraft" between the 36-fighter contract inked by the NDA government in September 2016 and the original 126-fighter deal under negotiation during the UPA government's tenure.

TALKING TO media here, Ms Sitharaman said, "The decision to buy 36 Rafale aircrafts was taken following the due procedure. We had to move forward fast", she said. We have negotiated for 36 French fighter aircraft Rafale (at a price) lower than that in the contract. Gandhi tweeted, "Why PM bypassed experienced HAL & gave the deal to AA rated businessman with no defence experience?" The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September, 2019.

Congress had earlier accused the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting "crony capitalism" and causing a loss to the public exchequer.

Mr Gandhi's retort comes a day after Ms Sitharaman alleged that it was shameful on part of the Congress to raise objections on the fighter aircraft deal.

"I am amazed over the patently baseless allegations being levelled by the Congress party on the whole Rafale deal", Prasad told reporters.

"Through the entire decade 2004-2014, the UPA government was unable to come to a decision to strengthen our defence preparedness".

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