Rubbishing the media report on “Rafale deal” that was quoted by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday accused the opposition of playing into the hands of multinational companies and vested interests.
The defence minister made a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha in the wake of protests by Congress and other opposition over the report which claimed that the Defence Ministry had protested to the PMO the mechanism being adopted for the Rafale deal.
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“They are flogging a dead horse. Periodical enquiries by the PMO cannot be construed as interference,” Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s allegation, which he levelled after citing the report, that PM Narendra Modi robbed Rs 30, 000 crore from Indian Air Force (IAF) and handed over the money to Anil Ambani, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that if the newspaper publishes a noting then the ethics of journalism will demand that the newspaper publishes the then Defence Minister’s reply as well.
“A newspaper published a file noting written by Defence Secretary. If a newspaper publishes a noting then the ethics of journalism will demand that the newspaper publishes the then Defence Minister’s reply as well,” ANI quoted Nirmala Sitharaman as saying.
Meanwhile, ANI accessed the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s reply to MoD dissent note on Rafale negotiations which read- "It appears PMO and French President office are monitoring the progress of the issue which was an outcome of the summit meeting. Para 5 appears to be an overreaction".
ANI accesses the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s reply to MoD dissent note on #Rafale negotiations."It appears PMO and French President office are monitoring the progress of the issue which was an outcome of the summit meeting. Para 5 appears to be an over reaction" pic.twitter.com/3dbGB9xF4Z— ANI (@ANI) February 8, 2019
Earlier, launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused him of robbing Rs 30, 000 crore from IAF and handing over the money to Anil Ambani.
Referring to a media report, the Congress president alleged that the Defence Ministry clearly said PM was carrying out parallel negotiations in connection with the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
Rahul also accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of lying in this matter.
He also claimed that former French President Hollande had admitted that he was made to choose Anil Ambani by PM Modi himself.
“PM Modi himself robbed Air Force's Rs 30,000 crore and gave it to Anil Ambani, we have been raising this since 1 year. Now a report has come where Defence Ministry officials say that PM was holding parallel negotiations with France Govt,” Rahul Gandhi told media persons.