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Finance, defence minister 'lied, misled' Parliament on Rafale: Antony

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Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Senior Congress leader and former Defence Minister A K Antony Monday accused the NDA government of compromising on national security and said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "lied" and "misled" Parliament about the process adopted for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets.

Antony asked why the government was running away from a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe, saying it will determine who is corrupt and who is lying.

"The NDA government has seriously compromised national security by reducing the number of aircraft to be procured from 126 to 36. Why is Modi government refusing to form a JPC? Because they have something to hide. We demand JPC. Let the country know who is corrupt, who is lying. Let the country know the truth," he told reporters.

Antony asked why the Modi government is hiding the actual price of the aircraft in the new deal.

"Is it correct of Prime Minister Modi to violate Defence Procurement Procedure and bypass Defence Acquisition Council," he asked.

"NDA Government led by Narendra Modi has seriously compromised national security by unilaterally reducing number of MMRCA from 126 to 36, that too when the UPA Government's negotiation for purchasing 126 aircraft was almost 90% over and in the final stage. They have further compromised national security by weakening and also tarnishing the image of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited - India's only aircraft manufacturing company," he said.

"The Finance Minister said in the Lok Sabha that he asked for re-examination after approval in the contract. Is it approval? I allowed them to continue the contract negotiation, I wrote in the file. After the contract negotiation was over, before coming the file for CFA approval...You must examine all these things. After re-examination by Air Force, even Finance and Defence Ministry, only I approved it," he claimed.

"Such a responsible senior Minister, Finance Minister, he lied in the Lok Sabha, I am very sorry for him. They can show the file noting on 27.6.2012 and that file is with them. Defence Minister also repeated the same. So, Finance Minister and Defence Minister misled the Parliament, misled the Lok Sabha about that process," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, January 07 2019. 21:55 IST
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