For first time former defence minister & Senior congress leader AK Antony on Tuesday accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of suppressing facts on Rafale deal.
“It’s unfortunate that defence minister is trying to tarnish HAL’s image nationally and globally,” Antony said while addressing a press conference.
He also questioned the Narendra Modi-led government over their silence and the fact that they ‘were shying away from ordering JPC to probe Rafale deal; let the truth come out,” he said.
In the press conference, Antony also stated, “The Modi government is guilty of compromising national security. They have been repeatedly saying that the new Rafale deal is cheaper. If that was the case, why is the government buying only 36 aircraft?”
He added, “The requirement for 126 aircraft by Indian Air Force was in 2000.
In 2018, the threat perception from our border nations has increased as compared to 2000.
Out of 126 aircraft, 18 were to be delivered by France in fly-away condition. The remaining 108 were to be manufactured in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
“Recently, the Law Minister claimed that in new agreement, aircraft is 9% cheaper than UPA deal.
The finance minister said that it is 20% cheaper. Officer of IAF said it is 40% cheaper. Why did they not buy more than 126 if it was cheaper?” Antony questioned.
It is important to note earlier, the Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned hearing on a plea seeking a stay on the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph adjourned the matter till October 10 after petitioner advocate M L Sharma told the bench that he wanted to file some additional documents in the case and sought adjournment in the matter.
“You yourself circulated a letter seeking adjournment on the ground of ill health. Now you are saying that you want to file additional documents. We are simply adjourning the matter to October 10,” the bench said. In his petition, Sharma has alleged discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and sought a stay on it.