New Delhi: In a fresh offensive, the Congress on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “lying” in Parliament on the Rafale deal, saying there was no secrecy clause in the 2008 Indo-French pact that binds the government from revealing price details of the fighter aircraft. The Congress is likely to raise the heat on the government on the issue and may move a privilege motion against PM Modi and Sitharaman for “misleading” the Lok Sabha.
Days after Congress President Rahul Gandhi forcefully attacked the government in Parliament on the Rafale deal, the party fielded three of its top leaders — former defence minister A K Antony, Anand Sharma and Randeep Surjewala —who demanded the Modi dispensation must reveal the price details of the aircraft.
The leaders also released a copy of the confidential agreement the UPA government had signed with France in January 2008, to drive home the point that it does not restrict India from revealing the price details of the Rafale deal. They also indicated that Congress may bring a privilege motion against the PM and Sitharaman.
Meanwhile, The BJP dismissed the questions raised by the Congress on the Rafale deal as a “collective singing of falsehood” to defend Rahul Gandhi, who, it said, was “prima facie guilty of breach of privilege for misleading” the Lok Sabha.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also cited replies made in Parliament by then UPA government on defence purchases and other issues in which its defence minister, first Pranab Mukherjee and then A.K. Antony, had declined to share price details and other information on the ground of national security.