New Delhi, Oct 10, 2018 : Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi yet again over the Rafale fighter jets deal. Citing the Supreme Court’s move to seek details from the Centre about the decision-making process of the deal, the Gandhi scion said that “processes to justify” Prime Minister Modi’s decision “are yet to be invented”, Zeenews reported.
The Congress chief further alleged that Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to France was also aimed at justifying the Rafale fighter jets deal with the country.
“The Supreme Court has asked for the #RAFALE decision making process. It’s quite simple really...The PM decided. The processes to justify his decision are yet to be invented. But work has begun. Ps. In this connection, Raksha Mantri is leaving for France tonight,” said the Congress chief on microblogging site Twitter.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph, asked the government to submit the details of the decision-making process on Rafale deal in a sealed envelope.
The top court, however, clarified that it does not want information on pricing and technical details of the deal. The Centre has been asked to submit the details by October 29. This decision came as the apex court heard a petition charging the government with corruption in the deal. The petition has been filed by advocate ML Sharma.
The development comes on a day when Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is leaving for France on a three-day visit. She is expected to take stock of progress of Rafale fighter jets supply.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.
The Congress has been alleging massive irregularities in the deal, saying the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government when it was negotiating the deal.
The Congress has also been targeting the government over selection of Reliance Defence as an offset partner for Dassault. The government has vehemently rejected the allegations and asserted that it did not have any role in the selection of Reliance Defence.