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No misdoing in Rafale deal: Defence Minister

New Delhi, June 5: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday rubbished Congress charges about Rs 40,000 crore loss to exchequer in the Rafale deal and said there has not been any “misdoing” or “scandal” in the government decision to buy the fighter jets from France.

Answering a query at a press conference here, Sitharaman did not name the Congress but said false comparisons were being made and the attacks concerning the deal were politically motivated.

“(My) absolute assurance that there has not been any misdoing there. I am assuring in the company of all senior officials of the ministry, yes there is no scandal in Rafale, we are very clear on that,” Sitharaman said.

She said the government had been spending a lot of time explaining how the decision was taken and that it was an inter-governmental agreement.

The Minister said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government could not purchase the fighter jets despite spending a lot of time on the deal.
“All false comparisons between Rafale, which was not bought, and using that as a comparison to say that what you paid today is far higher is just a non-starter and very clearly a motivated attack.

“So someone who could not even buy inspite of spending quite a lot of time is saying that what you paid is far higher than what I paid, which he has not paid at all in the first place,” she said.

The Congress has been alleging that Modi government finalised purchase of the Rafale jets at a higher price than negotiated by the UPA government.

It said the UPA negotiated Rafale at Rs 526 crore per plane but the Modi government paid Rs 1,670 crore instead, causing a loss of over Rs 40,000 crore in the purchase of 36 fighter jets. The UPA government had decided to purchase 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita