The Parliament is likely to witness another round of fiery debate on Monday as Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Congress President Rahul Gandhi got engaged in a Twitter battle over the issue of procurement orders worth Rs 1 lakh crore to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Quoting a media report that claimed that 'not a single rupee of the said Rs 1 lakh crore has come to HAL, since not a single order, as claimed, has been signed till now", the Congress challenged the Minister to place all documents related to the government orders in the Parliament or resign from her position.
"When you tell one lie, you need to keep spinning out more lies, to cover up the first one. In her eagerness to defend the PM's Rafale lie, the RM lied to Parliament," Gandhi tweeted.
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"Tomorrow, RM must place before Parliament documents showing 1 Lakh crore of Govt orders to HAL. Or resign," he said.
WILL RAHUL APOLOGISE, RESIGN FOR TELLING LIES: SITHARAMAN COUNTER-ATTACKS CONGRESS PRESIDENT
Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman counter-attacked the Congress scion for allegedly 'spreading lies' and wondered if he would apologise in Parliament and resign.
"It's a shame that the president of Indian National Congress is spreading lies and misleading the country. The HAL has signed contracts worth Rs 26,570.8 crore between 2014 and 2018 and contracts worth Rs 73,000 crore are in the pipeline," she said in a tweet.
"Will Rahul Gandhi apologise to the country from the floor of the House (Lok Sabha) and resign?" she added.
Earlier on Friday, Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha that the previous UPA government took India;s security lightly despite growing challenges from China and Pakistan.
Replying to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s speech, Sitharaman said Congress believed in doing “defence dealings” while the Narendra Modi government was “dealing in defence” to maintain India’s security.
“Our neighbourhood is very volatile. It is, therefore, important that we do anything to keep peace. Timely procurement of getting arms and ammunitions is a must. China added 4,800 aircraft. It’s the fourth generation aircraft being added by China. Pakistan increased its aircraft numbers by more than double in the last 10 years. In 2002, India had 42 squadrons, and came further down,” she said.
The Defence Minister's reply came after the Congress accused the Centre of lying before the Supreme Court by citing a "non-existent" CAG report on Rafale deal and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi reply to the debate in Lok Sabha on the issue.
Kharge had accused Modi of giving offset contract to his "favourite man" and reiterated the demand for a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee.