Rahul Gandhi questions secrecy on Rafale agreement, says PM changed contours of deal

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New Delhi | Published: February 6, 2018 6:23:40 PM

Congress president Rahul Gandhi today upped the offensive against the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre for the secrecy over the Rafale deal. The government's silence in Parliament, Rahul said, "only meant a scam".

rahul gandhi, rafale deal, narendra modi, nirmala sitharaman, ministry of defence, indian air forceCongress president Rahul Gandhi today questioned the government’s secrecy over the Rafale deal, and suggested that the silence meant there was “a scam”.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi today ramped the offensive against the government for the secrecy it is maintaining on the deal for Rafale aircraft, and charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi of personally changing the contours of the agreement during his visit to Paris. The Congress president’s remarks came after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday told Parliament that the government will not be able to reveal details such as the per unit cost of the Rafale twin-engine fighter jet, citing a secrecy pact between the governments of India and France.

“As per ‘Article-10’ of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between Government of India and Government of France on the purchase of Rafale aircraft, the protection of the classified information and material exchanged under IGA is governed by the provisions of the Security Agreement signed between the two nations in 2008,” the Defence Minister had said in the Rajya Sabha.

Charging the government with conspiracy, Rahul said that the Centre was deliberately hiding facts, suggesting that the silence only meant a scam. “The Defence Minister says that we will not reveal the amount paid for buying Rafael aircrafts. What does this mean? This only means there is a scam. Modi Ji personally went to Paris, he changed the deal. The whole country knows it,” Rahul told reporters on Tuesday.

Launching a parallel attack on the Centre over the issue on Twitter, Rahul took a dig at the Centre’s silence and said: “RM (Raksha Mantri) says the price negotiated for each RAFALE jet by the PM and his “reliable” buddy is a state secret. Action Points…1. Informing Parliament about the price is a national security threat…2. Brand all who ask, Anti National.” Rahul titled the tweet as “Top Secret (Not for Distribution)”.

The Congress party has alleged that the government had struck a deal by overpaying for the deal for 36 Rafale aircraft that India has purchased at a cost of 7.1 billion Euro. The first batch of the aircraft is expected to join the Indian Air Force fleet by 2019.

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