Rafale deal: Rahul Gandhi continues tirade against government, asks who changed the deal from 126 to 36 aircrafts

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New Delhi | January 2, 2019 3:01 PM

Congress president Rahul Gandhi today slammed the government on the Rafale deal.

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Congress president Rahul Gandhi today slammed the government on the Rafale deal. Hitting out at the Centre during a debate in Lok Sabha on the issue, he took on the government with a number of issues on the pact.

Attacking the Narendra Modi Government, he said, “ Earlier the deal with the French Government was for 126 Rafale aircraft. Who changed the deal to 36? Who changed the requirement of Indian Air Force (IAF)? Did something changed with regard to the security of the country?”

“ Earlier an excuse was given that the country needs aircraft urgently. If this was the case, why not a single aircraft reached the country? When the then defence minister Manohar Parrikar was asked about the deal, he said he had no idea,” the Congress president added.

Taking on the government on the pricing of the deal, Rahul Gandhi asked, “Why pricing changed from Rs 526 crore to 1600 crore? Why contract was taken away from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and given to Anil Ambani?”

He also praised the HAL’s contribution in the development of the country, saying it had been building aircraft for 70 years. “HAL has been aircraft for 70 years. It has a tremendous record and gives jobs thousands of men.”

Rahul also sought to play an audio tape released by the Congress earlier in the day. The demand was rejected by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan as it had not been authenticated.

Congress had claimed today that Manohar Parrikar has all files related to the agreement “in his bedroom”. The Congress while releasing an audio tape, purportedly of a discussion between Goa Cabinet minister Vishwajit Rane and an unknown person, the former is heard referring to an “interesting statement” by CM Parrikar.

“The Chief Minister made an interesting statement….that “I have all the information on Rafale in my bedroom.” This means that he is holding them to ransom,” Rane is apparently heard saying in the tape.

While releasing the tape, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala, said as per ANI, “Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has the all the files relating to Rafale jet deal. The fashion in which every procedure was bypassed…it is all recorded in the files. Those files are with Mr Parrikar. Why are those files being hidden?”

Meanwhile, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar tweeted, “ The audio clip released by the Congress party is a desperate attempt to fabricate facts after their lies were exposed by the recent Supreme Court verdict on Rafale. No such discussion ever came up during Cabinet or any other meeting.”

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