Reiterating his allegation of wrongdoings in the Rafale aircraft deal, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the three questions raised by him regarding the deal.
Speaking to the media, the Gandhi scion said Modi spoke for hours in Parliament on Wednesday yet chose to not answer the three questions raised by the Congress.
“We’ve asked three simple questions— what’s the total price paid for the aircrafts? Did he (Modi) take Cabinet Committee’s approval? And why was HAL left out? Why can’t he (Modi) answer these questions,” he said.
“Did you see the PM yesterday (Wednesday)? He spoke for one hour and could have answered all the three questions but he chose to remain silent,” he added.
The Congress chief then again accused Modi of corruption alleging that there was something wrong in the deal with the French government.
Congress has in the past as well accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre of wrongdoings in the Rafale jet deal.
The Congress said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had agreed to pay for each Rafale aircraft, three times the price that was negotiated in 2012 by the previous UPA government it led.
French company Dassault’s Rafale had emerged as the lowest bidder in an international tender in 2012 but the final deal for 126 aircraft was never closed by the previous UPA government.
By the time the BJP-led government came to power in 2014, the deal was deadlocked with Dassault refusing to certify key components of the jet which were to be built by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, unless a series of conditions were met.
With successive Air Force chiefs telling the government that India’s air defence would be seriously affected without the jets being inducted, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced an off-the-shelf purchase from France during a visit to Paris in April 2015.
The final deal in 2016 was higher than what was on offer four years earlier.