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Rahul cries scam in Rafale deal, says Modi personally changed the pact

Sagar Kulkarni, DH News Service, New Delhi, Feb 6 2018, 22:12 IST
Rahul Gandhi's attack came after Nirmala Sitharaman refused to disclose the sum paid for the Rafale aircrafts. ANI photo.

Rahul Gandhi's attack came after Nirmala Sitharaman refused to disclose the sum paid for the Rafale aircrafts. ANI photo.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday fired a fresh salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging a scam in the Rafale fighter jet procurement, a day after the government refused to share details of the deal with Parliament.

Leading from the front, Rahul claimed that Modi had "personally got the deal done" during his official visit to Paris.

"The defence minister is saying that we will not share details of the money spent on buying the aircraft€ I spoke during the Gujarat polls that there is a scam. Modiji has personally got the deal done. Modiji had personally gone to Paris. Personally the deal was changed," Rahul told reporters in Parliament.

"The defence minister is saying that she will not inform India€ about the money spent on buying those aircraft. What does this mean? This only means there is some scam," Rahul said.

Inflated costs

Stepping up pressure, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Modi government had finalised a fresh deal to procure Rafale fighter jets at highly inflated costs. He alleged that as per information, the per aircraft price during NDA comes to Rs 1,570.8 crore, against Rs 526.1 crore negotiated during the UPA.

"While the aircraft was sold for Rs 694.8 crore to Qatar by the same company, why was it sold for 100% more price to India," Azad asked at a press conference attended by Congress leaders Rajeev Gowda and Randeep Singh Surjewala.

"Why are the prime minister and defence minister hiding the purchase price," he asked.

In response to Gowda's question in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharman had refused to share the cost per aircraft paid by the government to procure Rafale fighters contending that the information was "classified" as per the inter-governmental agreement with France.

Azad said the prime minister, during his visit to France in April 2015, took a unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafale aircraft in violation of the Defence Procurement Procedure and without the mandatory approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security.

Congress leader Surjewala said that Rafale aircraft and the Typhoon fighters manufactured by Eurofighter had met the technical requirements, but Rafale jets were selected as it had emerged as the lowest bidder.

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