NEW DELHI - The Indian Congress on Friday again attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafael fighter jet deal with France and questioned his silence, saying there were serious concerns over a “huge loss” to the public exchequer.
Accusing the NDA government of playing with national security, the Congress also asked why it was hesitant in making public the fighter plane’s renegotiated price.
“Rafale fighter jet deal smacks of corruption. Even after serious concerns over a huge loss to public exchequer became public, Modi government continues to maintain a conspiratorial silence in the entire matter,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters in Ahmedabad.
“There is a huge discrepancy in the deal made by the Modi government for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from the French company Dassault Aviation SA,” he alleged.
The government has rejected the Congress’ allegations of irregularities in the Rafale deal, saying it was “politically motivated” and “shameful”.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari asked the government to make public the details of the renegotiated deal for the public to draw a comparison on whether the deal negotiated now is better that the one done during the party-led UPA rule.
He said public interest and public probity overrides any confidentiality clause that “may have been inserted for reasons bonafide or malafide”, saying the money for purchase of the Rafale aircraft belongs to the people of the country.
Tewari alleged that a shortlisted company along with Rafale had also written to the government offering the price of its aircraft at Rs 444 crore less than the purported rate at which the renegotiated Rafale deal was struck.
“This government talks about transparency and the prime minister touts that ‘Na khaoonga, na khaane doonga’ (Neither will do corruption nor allow anyone to do corruption), why is it so silent on the Rafale deal. Where is the transparency on the Rafale deal? Why all the things are not made public?,” he told reporters in Delhi.