A K Antony calls for Rafael answers
KOCHI: Former defence minister and senior Congress leader A.K. Antony has called for the disclosure of the details connected with the purchase of Rafael fighter jets from France. Speaking to reporters in Kochi on Sunday, Mr Antony said the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre should explain the reasons for keeping out government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) from the manufacturing of the fighter jets.
The defence ministry should disclose the amount spent for buying the fighter jets, he said. Referring to the comments made by finance minister Arun Jaitely, while refusing to disclose details of the deal, Mr Antony said: “There is no connection between the cost of the aircraft and national security.” He said the demand for a greater scrutiny for the deal has risen in the wake of reports that the price paid for the aircraft was much higher, compared to the the earlier negotiated deal.
“It is better to disclose the details to remove the suspicion in the minds of the people,” he added. The senior Congress leader urged his party workers to get ready for impending Parliament elections. The budget presented by the Modi government has given the impression that elections will be held at any moment after November, he said. Mr Antony has also accused the union government of trying to destroy the country’s Constitution and secularism.