Amid the ongoing tussle between the Congress and the BJP over the Rafale deal, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Friday said an investigation should be demanded on the issue as there is suspicion regarding the controversial deal. Haasan clarified that it is a suspicion and not an accusation.
"There is suspicion and we should demand an investigation. We are not accusing, but we are suspecting," said Kamal Haasan as reported by news agency ANI.
Earlier in this year, Haasan launched his new party Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) and said that it is ready to test the electoral waters in 2019 General Elections. "We are getting ready for it (2019 general elections) and it's true that we are ready already," the iconic Tamil filmstar had said.
On Thursday, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who has been accused by the Congress-led Opposition of lying and suppressing facts related to the Rafale fighter jet deal, denied any wrongdoing on the part of the Narendra Modi government. The Defence Minister, while categorically rejecting the Congress party's allegations, said that the Rafale jet deal was sealed under a legal framework.
To a question about former French President Francois Hollande's explosive claims that the selection of the Indian company (Reliance Defence) in the Rafale deal was done at the behest of the Indian Government, which eventually led HAL kicked out of the deal, Sitharaman said, 'You should ask this question to the Congress party since it was during the UPA government that 95% of the deal with HAL as the Indian partner of France's Dassault Aviation was reportedly finalised. I want to ask Congress why the deal could not be finally sealed when 95% of it was already cleared?''
The clarification from the Defence Minister came hours after French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that the defence deal for the purchase of French-manufactured 36 Rafale fighter jets was a government-to-government deal.
In a big boost to the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, the French President had on Wednesday confirmed that the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France was a government-to-government deal.
India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September in 2017 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore, nearly one-and-half years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the proposal during a visit to Paris.
The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September 2019.
While Prime Minister Modi has not spoken on the Rafale controversy himself, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other senior ministers have asserted that people of India have put a closure to the issue, saying there were no irregularities.
Prime Minister Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after holding talks with the then French president Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015, in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.