NEW DELHI: Despite France refuting Rahul Gandhi's remarks over the Rafale deal and confirming that the information is protected under secrecy agreements, the Congress chief on Sunday hit out at the Centre for refusing to divulge details. Rahul hit out at Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi for maintaining secrecy about the deal which he termed as a 'scam'.
"Our Defence Minister said she would, but now she won’t. She flip flops between “it’s-not-a-secret” & “it’s-a-BIG-secret”.
The PM squirms when asked about the price of RAFALE and refuses to look me in the eye. Sure smells like a scam," he tweeted on Sunday.
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, after France's rebuttal, Rahul said, "Let them deny it if they want. He (Macron) said that before me. I was there, Anand Sharma and Dr Manmohan Singh were also there."
France's Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs had said that classified information on defence deals enjoys protection under the security agreement signed by India and France in 2008.
Sitharaman had rubbished all allegations by Rahul said that the charges were absolutely wrong. She added that the initial agreement for the deal which had the secrecy clause was signed when the UPA was in power in 2008.
Hitting out at Rahul, Union Minister Arun Jaitley also said that the Congress chief made the no-trust motion an occasion for frivolity by fabricating a conversation with the French President that never happened. "Rahul Gandhi, concocted a conversation with President Macron, and lowered his own credibility. He seriously hurt the image of an Indian politician before the world at large," Jaitley said.