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India’s Rafale deal draws flak

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French Rafale fighter jet

Congress national spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said defence deals during the UPA rule were delayed due to strict adherence to procedure and principles of transparency

French Rafale fighter jet
French Rafale fighter jet

Stopping short of calling the NDA government’s Rafale deal a scam, the Congress on Saturday said the multi-billion dollar deal to purchase fighter jets from France lacked transparency and non-adherence to defence procurement norms.

Congress national spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said defence deals during the UPA rule were delayed due to strict adherence to procedure and principles of transparency.

Addressing a press conference here, Vadakkan said the Prime Minister’s Office had a vast sphere of influence in the defence ministry too.

Criticising the manner in which the deal for purchase of 36 Rafale fighters from French company Dassault was conducted, Vadakkan hinted that a Comptroller Auditor General scrutiny would bring more to the fore about the deal struck by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his France visit last month.

“Scam is something when we know (more about it)… You dont know the price. When you don’t know the price what do you make out of it. See transparency is the order of the day. If you do not know the price, then how do you decide, how do you compare?” Vadakkan said.

“The message is loud and clear, it is a PMO centric government… Who runs the defence ministry, we really want to know,” Vadakkan said.

Vadakkan also said the reason why defence deals were delayed when the United Progressive Alliance’s A.K. Antony was defence minister was because of the latter’s insistence on following set procedure and insistence on transparency.

“Why do you think deals were getting late. We wanted transparency and we had a defence minister who was A.K. Antony.

“My only this thing against him, Antony ji, is there was a delay. He wanted transparency. He did not want corruption. That man stood up against corruption and here transparency is out of the vocabulary,” Vadakkan said.

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