New Delhi, February 9: The Congress has intensified its attack on the Narendra Modi government for being ‘secretive’ about the Rafale fighter jet deal. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been raising questions over the procurement of fighter jets from France and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not answering any questions regarding the deal because there was something “fishy” in it.
Referring to Modi’s Parliament speech, the Gandhi scion had said that it was clear that the Prime Minister was not interested in answering “fundamental questions”.
Substantiating claims, the Congress has released former Defence Minister AK Antony’s reply in Parliament regarding acquisition of Mirage-2000 warplanes. “The last contracted price for each Mirage-2000 aircraft in the year 2000 was Rs. 133 crore. The contract for upgrade was signed in 2011 wherein the cost of upgrading one aircraft was Rs 167 crore,” Antony had said in a written reply in Lok Sabha in 2013.
Antony had said, “Applying an escalation of 3.5% per annum as per the Pricing Policy Review Committee, to the contacted cost of the year 2000, it works out to be Rs. 195 crore at 2011 levels. Thus, the upgrade has been undertaken at 85% of the escalated cost of the aircraft.” (Also Read: Rafale Deal: Congress Sniffs a Scam And Here’s The Reason Behind it)
The upgrade programme also includes fitments of advanced multimode-multi target radar, reconfigured glass cockpit and advanced avionics, state-of-the-art electronic warfare system and capability to launch advance missiles, Antony had said.
Rahul also attacked Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and said that she had first announced that she would inform the nation about the cost of purchasing Rafale aircraft but was now saying she could not do so as it was a state secret. “Which of her two statements are correct,” he asked. (Rafale Deal: Congress Manufacturing Allegation of Corruption on NDA, Says Jaitley)
Rahul said he had also posed three questions to Modi. These included the aircraft’s cost and “handing over” the deal to a businessman after “snatching” it from a public undertaking.
However, there was no reply, Gandhi said.
“There can be only one answer and it is that there is something fishy about this,” he said.
With inputs from PTI