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Rafale deal rocks Lok Sabha, Sitharaman says Oppn flogging a dead horse

Opposition members were heard shouting slogans demanding resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Rafale jet deal, Rafale fighter jet, Rafale aircraft
Rafale aircraft


The Rafale deal issue rocked the Friday, with dismissing the media report on the deal as "flogging a dead horse" and slamming the opposition for playing into the hands of vested interests.

Amid the opposition uproar over the Rafale matter, made a suo motu statement on the issue in the House.

Immediately after the House convened at noon, members from Congress, and jumped in the well shouting slogans and showing placards referring to a media report which claimed that the Prime Minister's Office had interfered in price negotiations in the multi-billion deal to procure Rafale jets.

Opposition members were heard shouting slogans demanding resignation of on the issue. Opposition parties also demanded constitution of a (JPC) to probe the Rafale jet deal.

asked the slogan shouting members to go to their seats as she would allow them to speak on the matter.

Referring to the media report, Saugata Roy (TMC) alleged that parallel negotiations were on when the defence ministry's negotiating committee was handling the matter.

He also alleged that "notorious" Security Advisor was conducting parallel negotiations in Paris, undermining the bargaining power of the government.

"It concerns security...(Narendra) Modi is destroying the defence of the country and undermining negotiations...Why PMO interfered?. Rafale stands out to be a biggest scandal," he charged.

Intervening in the matter, Mahajan said a newspaper will write anything and "you are raising the issue".

Sticking to the demand for constitution of JPC, of in Mallikarjun Kharge dubbed the government as anti-

"You (government) are anti-national. You indulged in stealing but are instead blaming us...You are buying only 26 jets as against 126," Kharge said.

He alleged that the and the prime minister's office were fighting on the issue and the matter has come out in newspaper also.

"That is why you need to constitute JPC as the reality will come out. All files would come to JPC. We do not want any other explanation...we do not want to listen to anything," he said.

On this, the said discussion has already been conducted on the matter.

said the government participated in the discussion and point by point answers were given by the

He said it was not good to stall Lok Sabha proceedings like this and that the media report was not correct.

Amid the shouting and sloganeering, entered the House and made a suo motu statement.

"They are flogging a dead horse. Periodical enquiries by the PMO cannot be construed as interference," she said during the Zero Hour.

The Defence Minister charged the opposition with playing into the the hands of multinational companies and vested interests and not working in the interests of the

Referring to the report, which claimed that the then had objected to the PMO allegedly conducting price negotiations with the French company, Sitharaman said the then Defence Minister had replied to the letter asking the to remain "calm" as everything was "alright".

Sitharaman also alleged that the then of the Sonia Gandhi used to run the PMO regularly during the UPA regime.

"Was that not interference?," she asked.

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 14:15 IST
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