Amid the controversy over Rafale deal, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will embark on a three-day visit to France on Wednesday. During the visit, Sitharaman will meet her French counterpart Florence Parly.
According to sources, Sitharaman’s visit to France was aimed to address the concerns of Paris in wake of the controversy over Rafale deal.
Reacting to defence minister's visit, the Congress took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra ModiMinistered whether people whom the "Chowkidar" (watchman) was protecting will also go with her.
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The Opposition parties led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of conflict of interest in the Rafale deal. Gandhi claimed that the Narendra Modi government was paying Rs 1,670 crore for one aircraft, while the erstwhile UPA government was buying the aircraft at just Rs 526 crore.
In April 2015, Modi had announced the deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from France after discussions with then French President Francois Hollande.
SC to hear pleas challenging Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a fresh PIL challenging the controversial Rafale deal. The PIL filed before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi sought direction to the Centre to file in “sealed cover” the details of the agreement India had entered into with France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets.
The bench, which also comprised Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, had already listed another PIL seeking to stay the high-profile fighter aircraft deal between India and France. Modi government had rejected Congress’ demand to disclose the per aircraft price citing security concerns.