The Congress on Monday lashed out at alleged comments made by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at a poll campaign meeting in south Goa, where the latter has been quoted in the media as saying that prior to NDA rule, up to 25 percent of the defence ministry’s budget of Rs.3 lakh crore was being pocketed.
In a statement issued here Congress spokesperson Durgadas Kamat said: "If there were thefts during the Congress rule, who (has) stopped the Defence Minister from investigating? This is stooping low to get publicity."
Parrikar, who attended a zilla panchayat election campaign meeting in Khola, a village in south Goa, 90km from Panaji, was quoted in the local media on Monday as saying that he would deliver 25 percent more output with the budgetary outlay at his disposal because of corruption in prior regimes.
"Defence budget is Rs.2.46 lakh crore and if everything is taken into account, it goes up to Rs.3 lakh crore. Then there are thefts that take place," Parrikar is quoted as having said.
"Someone from the opposition in Rajya Sabha asked me how we could do so many things with this budgeted amount, I told him: ‘we can achieve 25 percent to 30 percent more than what you did with the same amount during your period. This is because during your regime, someone in the middle was eating up to 25 percent and even more than that amount’," he was further quoted.
Parrikar did not, however, name a ruling dispensation responsible for corruption in the defence ministry.
Parrikar, a former Goa chief minister was elevated to the union cabinet as defence minister in the National Democratic Alliance government in November last year.