CONGRESS SEEKS REPLY FROM MODI ON RAFALE DEAL; CHARGES FALSE, SAYS DEFENCE MINISTER

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Narendra Modi

NEW DELHI (IANS): The Congress on Wednesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought a reply from him on questions being raised on the Rafale deal by two former BJP Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, who alleged the deal was “unilaterally” finalized by Modi, violating mandatory procedures.

In the form of a letter on behalf of the citizens, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “Dear PM, you ‘shun the opposition’ and ‘keep mum’.”

“Please reply now as the questions are being asked on #Rafale scam by two of your own senior most colleagues, Sh. Yashwant Sinha and Sh. Arun Shourie! Your Sincerely, Citizens of India,” he wrote.

Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers Sinha and Shourie on Wednesday alleged that the Rafale jet deal was “unilaterally” finalized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by violating mandatory procedures, and this defence scandal was “larger than any thus far”.

Rafale charges by Shourie, Sinha fabricated, says Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday night dismissed as “fabricated” the allegations by former BJP ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha that the Modi government’s deal to buy Rafale jets from France was the “biggest defence scandal” in the country.

“All allegations being levelled in various press conferences are already answered on the floor of the Parliament. A recent attempt, in the House, to malign the government through baseless charges collapsed. Today’s was yet another attempt at repeating fabricated facts,” Sitharaman said in a late night tweet.

The tweet came in response to Sinha and Shourie’s allegation that the Rafale jet deal was “unilaterally” finalized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by violating mandatory procedures, and the scandal was “larger than any thus far”.

They sought a time-bound probe by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India and asked the government to come clean on the issue.

Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who addressed the media with the former National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ministers, said the manner in which the order for Rafale jets was changed made for a “clear case of criminal misconduct”.

Besides the “gross violation of mandatory procedures”, a public sector undertaking was “inexplicably dropped” from the project, he said.

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