If NDA's Rafale deal was cheaper, why were only 36 jets bought: P Chidambaram questions Nirmala Sitharaman

Former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday targeted Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman once again over Rafale fighter jets deal.

If NDA's Rafale deal was cheaper, why were only 36 jets bought: P Chidambaram questions Nirmala Sitharaman

Former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday targeted Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman once again over Rafale fighter jets deal with France. Taking to microblogging site Twitter, Chidambaram listed top three reasons that compelled a probe into the Rafale deal.

The three reasons mentioned by the former home minister of the country included a question on why Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government cancelled the earlier agreement, inked during the UPA era, for purchase of 126 Rafale aircraft despite every authority, including the Indian Air Force, approving the same.

In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said, “Defence Minister asks "why should I order an inquiry into the Rafale purchase?" Here are the three TOP reasons…”

“Why did the government scrap the earlier agreement on 126 aircraft that had been approved by every authority including the Indian Air Force?”

The former Union minister also raised the issue of scrapping the deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the offset partner for the deal. He tweeted, “Why did the government not suggest the name of HAL as the Offset Partner or at least as one of the Offset Partners?”

Chidambaram further asked that if the price negotiated by the NDA government was cheaper than that by the previous UPA government, why was it decided to buy just 36 aircraft instead of 126, which was part of the previous deal.

“If the price negotiated by the NDA government was indeed cheaper by 9 per cent, why did the government decide to buy only 36 aircraft and not all the 126 agreed earlier?” asked the senior Congress leader.

This comes a day after Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attacked the Congress party, alleging that it was “restless” as it did not get to make money out of the Rafale deal.

According to news agency 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.

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