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Defence minister doing flip-flop on secrecy clause; Rafale deal 'smells like scam': Rahul Gandhi

PTI | Updated on: 22 Jul 2018, 10:19:07 PM
Defence minister doing flip-flop on secrecy clause; Rafale deal 'smells like scam': Rahul Gandhi (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi:

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged the controversial Rafale jet deal “smells like a scam” and accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of doing a “flip-flop” on the secrecy clause.

Gandhi also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue, alleging he “squirms” when asked about the prices of the fighter aircraft.

“Our Defence Minister said she would, but now she won’t. She flip flops between ‘it’s-not-a-secret’& ‘it’s-a-BIG-secret’. The PM squirms when asked about the price of RAFALE and refuses to look me in the eye. Sure smells like a scam. #RAFALEscam (sic),” he tweeted.

Gandhi’s fresh attack on the government over the deal comes two days after he told Parliament during the debate on no-confidence motion that French president had conveyed to him that there was no problem in sharing details relating to the Rafale, contrary to what the government has been saying.

“The Defence Minister has clearly spoken an untruth,” he had said.

Referring to Prime Minister Modi, he had said, “I can see him smiling. There is a touch of nervousness. He is looking away, not looking into my eyes.”

The truth is that Modi is not a “chowkidar” (guard) but a “bhagidaar” (collaborator) in the wrong-doings, the Congress chief had said.

“I personally met the French president and asked him if there is such a pact between the French and Indian governments. The French president told me that there is no such pact between the French and Indian governments,” Gandhi had said.

“This is the truth, and he told me that I have no objection to it (details of Rafale deal) being made public, you can tell it to entire India.”

Prime Minister Modi had called these charges as “distortion of truth”.

After Gandhi’s claims, the French government had issued a statement, saying a security agreement it concluded with India in 2008 legally binds the two countries to protect the classified information relating to operational capabilities of defence equipment.

However, it did not clarify whether the provisions of the pact restrict the Indian government to disclose price details of the Rafale deal.

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First Published : 22 Jul 2018, 10:16:21 PM