Rafale decision arbitrary, will be raised in Parliament: Congress

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Hyderabad, Jun 3: Congress today said the NDA government's decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets was "arbitrary", and claimed that it "cuts out" Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) from the process.

Speaking at a press conference here, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the party will raise the issue in the Parliament, and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have do some answering on the issue.

Rafale decision arbitrary, will be raised in Parliament: Congress.
"If he (Modi) believes in transparency and if he is sincere about Make-in-India (programme), then what's behind this Rafale deal?" Sharma asked.

"There was no Maintenance Transfer of Technology (MToT) provision in the deal and HAL has been cut out," he said.

Sharma said he was shocked to learn from HAL officials that the company had also been cut out of the proposed fifth-generation fighter aircraft programme (with Russia). During his visit to France last month, Modi announced the decision to buy 36 Rafale jets in a fly-away condition under government-to-government contract.

"Where is the transparency in this decision?" Sharma asked, claiming that even the Finance Minister and the Home Minister, who are members of the cabinet committee on security, were kept in the dark.

"This big question will be put to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was he who took the decision. Questions will be put to government in Parliament," said Sharma, who is Congress's deputy leader in Rajya Sabha.

"Details (of the deal) have been shrouded in a sort of mystery. No body knows. Cabinet ministers don't know.... Parliament doesn't know," he said. Sharma also targeted Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, terming his performance as "pathetic".

"He shoots (off) his mouth on issues where he should keep quiet," the Congress leader said.

PTI

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