Government constitutionally bound to reveal defence contracts: Congress attacks Modi on Rafale deal secrecy

AK Antony on Rafale

New Delhi, July 23 : Congress leader and former Defence Minister A.K. Anthony pin-pointedly attacked Narendra Modi government for not disclosing the details of Rafale deal and said under the Constitution, government has to reveal in detail the defence contracts as they are scrutinised at various levels.

Congress convened a special press briefing to expose PM Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday in which  Antony said, “Sitharaman has misleaded the country in revealing the pricing of Rafale aircraft.Rafale was selected after considering many companies in December 2012. Prices were settled. During our time a tender for 126 Rafale aircrafts were issued.”

The press briefing  was attended by Senior spokespersons Anand Sharma  and Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Surjewala tweeted, “the PM and Defense Minister mislead the Nation to cover their lies on Rafale deal .”

Admitting and disclosing the fact that he had revealed prices of defence contracts in the Parliament in the past, Antony said, “I have revealed in Parliament prices of many defence contracts because under the constitution government cannot deny revealing the prices as they are scrutinised at various levels.”

Antony outrightly denied the allegations made by Sitharaman that  India-France agreement to buy the fighter jets was signed in 2008 by the then-defence minister AK Antony and it had the confidentiality clause which was an agreement of secrecy. Protection of classified information.

“When there is no secret deal that prevents revealing the prices, how can they keep it a secret?, Anthony remarked.

“According to UPA’s deal, among 126 aircrafts, only 18 were to be manufactured in France. Rest were to be manufactured by PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.There is no transfer of technology in this new deal, so it doesn’t substantiate the rise in price of aircrafts,”Anthony while terming Modi as Bhagidaar and said “Modi intentionally and knowingly cancelled the contarct given to HAL  and gave it to Reliance”.

“HAL would have benefited with employment and experience with this deal. Many technicians and engineers lost the opportunity of employment.Normally offset market must have experience in manufacturing fighter aircrafts. The company to which this deal was given had experience neither in fighter aircrafts nor regular aircrafts,” Antony said while slamming Modi government.

During the debate of no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha on Friday , Congress President Rahul Gandhi attacked the Modi government and the defence minister on the Rafale deal and alleged that she had spoken “untruth” when she claimed that the Indian government could not reveal details of the deal due to a confidentiality clause in the agreement with France.

The defence minister said the India-France agreement to buy the fighter jets was signed in 2008 by the then-defence minister AK Antony and it had the confidentiality clause,”It was an agreement of secrecy. Protection of classified information.

“In the interviews, the French President had said that commercial details of the Rafale deal cannot be revealed,” she said.

 Sitharaman said: “You have these commercial agreements and obviously you have competitors and we cannot reveal the details”.

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