[India], Jan 4 (ANI): 'Price is not part of the secrecy pact' in Rafale fighter jet deal, adding that it must be answered as to 'who was the one to decide on Anil Ambani?' claimed Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday.
Reiterating Congress's stance on the issue, the Congress president cited excerpts from the speech of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and posed several questions to the government.
"The Defence Minister in her speech said that the old contract was changed to develop the new contract. In the new contract, HAL was removed and Anil Ambani was added to it. Who was the one to decide on Anil Ambani? Hollande ji had said that the Prime Minister took the decision, we asked you this question but you did not answer," he said.
Outlining further the alleged price difference between the deals proposed by past and present government's, the Gandhi scion said, "Secondly, in the bid that happened during UPA tenure the price of Rafale was 560 crore, in your deal, it has become 1600 crore. In the first bid, in RFP it was not a bare aircraft but full complement. It is written in the contract that in addition to weapons launchers, pile-on's will have to be provided. This answer was also not given. The third question is that if the neighborhood is dangerous why the number of aircraft were brought down from 126 to 36. If the price was right why not 126 aircraft were purchased?"
Rahul Gandhi also demanded a clarification from the defence minister on the alleged bypassing of procedures in the procurement of Rafale fighter jets and said, "I also want to ask that Defence Minister has accepted that due to an emergency the Prime Minister has to do bypass surgery. She said that previous deal of 126 fighter jets was changed by Prime Minister Modi. My question is that when this bypass surgery was done by the Prime Minister? Did the highest officials of the defence ministry object to this bypass surgery? Did they suggest to Defence minister or to anybody else that Prime Minister should not be bypassing the defence establishment?"
Parliament's winter session is witnessing heated debates between the leaders of the opposition and the ruling party on the Rafale row.
Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had launched a scathing attack on the Congress party over the controversial Rafale fighter jets deal, saying that "for every 'AA' there is a 'Q' and 'RV'.
During a heated discussion that unfolded in the Lok Sabha over the deal on Friday, Sitharaman had said, "Congress did not intend buying the jets. For every 'AA' there is a 'Q' and 'RV', alluding to Robert Vadra and Ottavio Quattrocchi. (ANI)