NEW DELHI: Congress will be moving a privilege motion against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha over the Rafale deal even after France admitted that the information of the deal is protected under secrecy agreements.
Hitting out at the Centre, senior Congress leader AK Antony said that the price of the aircraft should be revealed. "The government's claim of secrecy clause in Rafale deal is totally wrong. They have to reveal price details of each aircraft. The government cannot hide price details of Rafale deal as it has to be scrutinised by CAG and Public Accounts Committee," Antony said.
He added that the scope of the pact extends to tactical, technical details of weaponry. "Indo-French pact of 2008 doesn't mention that commercial cost of procurement relating to defence deal can't be revealed. It is clear that the PM and Defence Minister have misled the nation on the issue," he said.
Congress leader Anand Sharma also said that the government owes an explanation to Parliament on why the PM and the Defence Minister 'misled' the nation on price issue in Rafale deal. "The French government had no objection in revealing price of Rafale aircraft, this was conveyed by French president to Rahul Gandhi," Sharma said.
While speaking in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the no-confidence motion against the government, Rahul had alleged that Sitharaman had lied to the nation by claiming that India was bound by a secrecy clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal signed with France.
Rahul said French President Emmanuel Macron had clearly conveyed to him that there was no problem in sharing details relating to the Rafale deal worth Rs 58,000 crore. Alleging corruption in the deal, the Congress has been demanding details, including cost of equipment and weapons, but the government has refused to share them citing the secrecy clause.
However, France refuted Rahul's remarks and said that the information is protected under secrecy agreements.