Rafale row: Rahul echoes corruption charge, questions PM Modi's silence

File Photo: PTI

Continuing to attack the Narendra Modi government on the Rafale deal, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that there has been a "corruption" in the defense deal and will be "exposed". 

Questioning the silence of the Prime Minister over the issue, he also asked why did Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman change her stance over revealing the price of the fighter aircraft.

"Sidhi baat hai. Rafale mamle me bhrashtachar hua hai...niklega...aur Pradhanmantri udhar dekh rahe hain (It is simple. There has been corruption in Rafale issue and the Prime Minister is looking another way," Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament.

He said he wanted to ask about it in the Parliament but he was not allowed and the house was adjourned, adding Modi spoke for about an hour on Wednesday but did not utter a word about Rafale.

"He (Modi) spoke about last 70 years but didn't say anything about Rafale. We asked it to (Finance Minister Arun) Jaitleyji but he had no answer," he said.

The Congress President said that the government needs to answer three questions about Rafale issue.

"Whether he (Modi) himself took the decision in Paris or took permission from Cabinet Committee on Security? Yes or not. What was the reason behind giving the contract to a businessman rather than HAL? and what was the price?

Gandhi also posed the question on Twitter and followed it with choices. He tweeted: 


Q. Why did the Raksha Mantri change her stance from :

I will reveal the price of the RAFALE planes in Nov 2017 to the price is a state secret in Feb 2018

A. Corruption

B. To protect Modiji

C. To protect Modiji's friend

D. All of above #TheGreatRafaleMystery

— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) 8 February 2018

Sitharaman told Parliament on Monday that the details of the deal with France for the Rafale fighter jets cannot be disclosed as per the inter-governmental agreement as it is "classified information".

Earlier, replying to Congress charges over Rafale during the Budget debate, Jaitley said the Congress was trying to manufacture a scam in Rafale fighter jet purchase because it had not been able to find any corruption case in the Narendra Modi government's tenure so far.

He also quoted a number of written replies in Parliament by Ministers from the then UPA governments including Pranab Mukherjee and A.K. Antony, wherein they had refused to quote the price in defense deals citing security concerns.

"Break-up of the cost will tell what weapon systems are there in the deal. These security pacts are an inherent part of these defense contracts," he said.

"They're compromising national security by asking for details which should not be made public, by which I mean known to the enemy," Jaitley added.

He also advised the Congress President to "learn" from Pranab Mukherjee "lessons on national security".