Congress demands Parliamentary panel to probe Narendra Modi government's Rafale deal

Congress has also warned to bring a privilege motion against Modi govt over the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France.

Congress demands Parliamentary panel to probe Narendra Modi government's Rafale deal
File photo

NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi-led Congress party has now called for constituting a Parliamentary Joint Committee for examining and stating facts of the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France.

Speaking to ANI, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, ''A Parliament Joint Committee should be made, as it was done in Bofors case, to state facts of the Rafale jet deal. If it is cheaper, then PM should have stated it during no-confidence motion.''

Kharge today charged the ruling BJP of making misleading statements on the deal.

''Now, statements being made by BJP are just afterthoughts to mask corruption,'' Kharge said.

Kharge also lashed out at PM Narendra Modi's tour of East Africa.

''The PM is out on a five-day tour when the Parliament session is on. The meeting could have been avoided. It was not an inevitable meeting. But, since he has the absolute majority, he chooses to go on foreign tours and skips Parliament sessions, '' Kharge said.

Congress party has earlier hinted that it 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 about 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 the CAG and the Public Accounts Committee," Antony said.

He added that the scope of the pact extends to tactical, technical details of the 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 too 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 the 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 on July 20, Rahul had alleged that Defence Minister 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 Gandhi had claimed that 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 the 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.