Allegations of wrong doing and corruption in the purchase of the 36 Rafale fighter jets from France for the Indian Air Force (IAF) are “unfounded,” the government said.
Rafale deal: There is “no reason for intervention by the government,” the Supreme Court judges said.
Rahul Gandhi had alleged that the jets were bought at price higher than what the UPA govt had negotiated for.
Opposition demanded that the govt disclose the details of the Rafale deal.
However, govt denied the details citing confidentiality clause.
Allegations of wrong doing and corruption in the purchase of the 36 Rafale fighter jets from France for the Indian Air Force (IAF) are “unfounded,” the government today said as the Opposition sharpened its attack.
Earlier, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had alleged that the aircraft were bought at price higher than what the UPA-led Manmohan Singh government had negotiated for.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s denial to reveal the cost of the fighters in the Parliament added more fuel to the Oppositions allegations. Refusing to give out the price, defence minister had cited a “confidentiality clause” which prevented disclosure of the price.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, “The demand that the Government disclose the details and value of the contract for the Rafale aircraft contracted in 2016 is unrealistic” because of the “confidentiality requirements”.”
Hitting back at the Congress, the MoD further said that previous Manmohan Singh-led UPA government too had “expressed its inability to disclose the price of various defence procurements, including in its responses to Parliament questions.”
The Ministry of Defence in a written statement said that the allegations leveled by the Opposition “would normally not have merited a response but for the serious damage being caused on a serious matter of national security.”
While Congress tried to exploit the sovereign guarantee of not disclosing the price – a clause that is built into all defence purchase — the Modi-led NDA government highlighted that previous government had failed to close the deal despite being in power for 10 years thereby affecting defence preparedness.
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“It must be remembered that it was under the ten-year tenure of the previous government at the Centre the earlier initiative of 2002 to meet requirement of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for much needed augmentation of its fighter strength ran aground,” the MoD said in its statement.