Defence Minister should resign for “misleading” on Rafale deal: Congress

Manish Tewari

New Delhi, Sep 20: The Congress on Thursday sought Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s resignation accusing her of “misleading” the people of India after former HAL chief T.S. Raju dismissed her claim that the defence undertaking did not have the capability to build Rafale fighter jets.

Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari, citing Raju’s assertions made to a national daily, said the Narendra Modi government’s “web of lies” surrounding the controversial defence deal has been demolished.

In a blistering attack, he said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have tried to hide behind the confidentiality clause which does not even exist when it comes to a price of Rafale”.

“What is extremely disturbing is the statement made by Hon’ble DM yesterday. She said that HAL did not get into a contract with Dassault Aviation. Chief of HAL, who retired in 2018, has made certain pertinent points that demolishes NDA’s claim”, he said.

“Raju, who retired on September 1, has absolutely demolished the entire case that the Modi government has tried to build in the last few months.

“He has not only asserted HAL’s capability but also revealed about the signing of a mutual work-share contract with Dassault Aviation (the French aircraft manufacturer of the fighter jet at the centre of the controversy).

“In the light of clear and unequivocal statement of facts by the former head of HAL, we demand the resignation of the Defence Minister on the charge of misleading the people of the country,” Tewari told the media here.

The fresh attack against the ruling government came a day after, the Congress met Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi seeking a probe into Rafale Deal.


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