Congress restless since it could not make money from Rafale deal: Nirmala Sitharaman

The UPA regime dealt with brokers and didn't buy equipment for the armed forces.

Congress restless since it could not make money from Rafale deal: Nirmala Sitharaman

CHENNAI: Amid a bitter war of words with Congress, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that the country's oldest political party was "restless" because it could not make money out of it.

According to ANI, the Defence Minister also accused the previous Congress-led UPA regime of negotiating with "brokers" and not buying important equipment required for the defence forces.

"... and with brokers and dalal they were still buying time, not buying important equipment. But we are buying now and that's where I think the Congress is being restless. Restless because they couldn't make money. ...(they) couldn't perform, left the Air Force where it was," she told reporters.

The Defence Minister made these remarks while responding to the Congress attack on the Modi government that has been accused of being involved in a scam in the purchase of Rafale jet fighters from France.

Rahul Gandhi's party was desperate and its desperation showed, she said. 

"That this government could run without any allegation of corruption. For them, it's just not going down the throat. They are just not able to digest the fact. Search for corruption. You can`t find, so throw an allegation and let them keep giving explanations. I`m finished with it, I`ll go to the next allegation. That is their approach," she said about the Congress offensive.

The Congress party has launched a major offensive against the Narendra Modi government on the Rafale fighter jet deal issue, calling it the biggest defence scam of the country. 

Rahul Gandhi had on Friday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence on the controversy pertaining to the Rafale jets deal and come clean on the deal between French aircraft manufacturer Dassault and Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence Industries.

Intensifying his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress president said, "I throw a fresh challenge to Prime Minister Modi. Answer this to the youths of this state, on why did the former French president said that it was you, Prime Minister who handed over the contract to Anil Ambani. Why did you facilitate the deal for a company indebted with Rs 45,000 crore? Why did you buy a fighter aircraft for Rs 1,600 crore which cost Rs 526 crore?"

He went on to add, "You won't answer these questions as you helped your friend Anil Ambani bag a Rs 30,000 crore deal and the country knows that you speak lies one after another on the stage and your intentions are not clear."

Urging the Prime Minister to break his silence on the matter, Rahul said, "The former French president himself came out and said that neither his government nor Dassault chose Reliance as the offset partner for the Rafale jets.''

He said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who preferred Reliance over HAL. So, it was PM Modi who helped Anil Ambani making money out of the deal, which means, the Chowkidar (watchman) of this country is nothing but a thief."

"Even during the Parliamentary debate, I threw the same questions to the Prime Minister on why he chose Anil Ambani over HAL when his company has a debt of over 45,000 crore Rupees. But, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was caught grasping at straws because the Chowkidar (watchman) has robbed the nation. People who are corrupt and loot a nation, cannot look into eyes and say the truth," Rahul added.

(With Agency inputs)

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