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Defends Rafale deal; says UPA didn't decide for a decade

Defends Rafale deal; says UPA didn't decide for a decade”

While the Congress is alleging that the deal was finalized at much higher cost than earlier negotiated by the UPA government and BJP denying the allegations said that the opposition is only blaming to divert the attention.

Her comments came a day after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having changed the entire Rafale fighter plane deal "to help a businessman".

"You ask me so many questions and I answer all of them". Why don't you question Prime Minister Modi on the Rafale deal, on Amit Shah's son?

"Who is on the delegation is not in the Prime Minister's hands", she said.

Senior Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials have said that the cost of 36 Rafale fighter jets bought from France was about 10 million euros (about United States dollars $ 12 million), cheaper than the original contract negotiated by the previous UPA government.

"Allegations relating to the Rafale deal are shameful, the deal was finalised following a transparent procedure", said the defence minister. "No procedure was violated", she said.

Asked if it meant the price under the deal is lesser, she quipped: "Absolutely".

"They are finding it hard to accept that there has been no case of corruption in the three-year rule of the Narendra Modi government", Prasad, who was briefing reporters on cabinet decisions, said when asked about allegations leveled by Gandhi.

No figures on the price were, however, given by the minister.

She said that the final agreement for 36 Rafale jets was signed in September, 2016, after five rounds of lengthy discussions between Indian and French sides and approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security.

Congress and BJP have gotten into a feud over the recent Rafale's deal done by the central government recently.

Congress' communications department head Randeep Surjewala alleged that the government neglected the interests of public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). "Transfer of technology from France to India made no economic sense", Sitharaman added. "It pains me that the UPA govt, despite recognising the critical need for fighters for the IAF, did not conclude the deal for 10 years", said Sitharaman.

The Congress spokesperson alleged that "There is complete non-transparency, a flagrant violation of a mandatory provision of Defence Procurement Procedure, sacrificing national interest on the transfer of technology to PSU HAL and blatant promotion of financial interests of crony capitalist friends of the prime minister have marred the purchase of the aircraft".

In a statement, Reliance Defence Limited dubbed the Congress' allegations "baseless and unfounded".



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