Editorial

Sitharaman did not answer, why a shell company considered, why three fold increase in buying of Rafale aircraft

After a heated debate on the controversial Rafale deal Parliament, the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke for two hours and still did not answer the two crucial questions on the Rafale deal. The two questions relate that who took away the contract from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and whether Indian Air Force (IAF) officers objected to the changes in the deal. And what is consistency for the three-fold increase in the cost of the Rafale aircraft?

Sitharaman and other Bharatiya Janata Party ministers have seen sitting silently in response to the questions.

Every Indian asks the Prime Minister and his ministers these questions that Defence Minister Sitharaman evaded his questions on the controversial Rafale deal and “ran away” when asked a pointed question if the IAF objected to the changes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made in “two minutes” to the deal, negotiated over eight years.

Instead of answering the question, Sitharaman started doing drama by saying “Oh I was insulted. I was called a liar….’. The simple questions were that after such a long negotiation by the Air Force chief, Defence Minister, secretaries and Air Force officers, did those who did the whole negotiation object to raise the rate of aircraft and why Prime Minister Narendra Modi did the whole bypass surgery to the aircraft negotiated deal in considering a shell company instead of famous Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL).

Sitharaman dismissed all allegations of corruption in the Rafale deal without answering substantive questions of inconsistent raise in the cost of the aircraft payment to French manufacturer Dassault at the cost of Indian public exchequer.

In a reply lasting over two-and-half hours in the Lok Sabha on Friday to a debate on the deal with French manufacturer M/s Dassault, she should have admitted that while Bofors was a scam in past and Rafale is present scam and put forward the papers relating to the Rafale on the floor of the highest House of the People, the Parliament.

Earlier too she mislead the Apex Court with unsigned note stating that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has perused the accounts and that the decision making process, pricing and the choice of Indian offset partners (IOP) — and the same having been examined by the Public Accounts Committee and terming as a sensitive issue of purchase of 36 jets.

It is wrong to say on the floor of the House by misleading the subjects of the nation that the decision taken for purchase of 36 jets from French Aircraft manufacturing Company M/s Dassault is national interest and that the Rafale will bring back Modi to build a new India by indulging in corruption and abusing the national spirit.

The nation is not concerned about then Middle-Class status of the Defence Minister Mrs.Sitharaman or then Economically Backwardness of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but where did Indian money is going from the public Exchequer for what genuine consideration.