Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday dismissed the media report on the Rafale jet deal as “flogging a dead horse” and accused the opposition of playing into the hands of multinational companies and vested interests. Sitharaman’s suo motu statement came in Lok Sabha in the wake of protests by Congress and other opposition over the report which claimed that the Defence Ministry had protested to the PMO the mechanism being adopted for the Rafale deal.
“They are flogging a dead horse. Periodical enquiries by the PMO cannot be construed as interference,” the minister said during the Zero Hour. The Defence Minister charged the opposition with playing into the hands of multinational companies and vested interests and not working in the interests of the Indian Air Force.
Referring to the report, which claimed that the then Defence Secretary had objected to the PMO allegedly conducting price negotiations with the French company, Sitharaman said that the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had replied to the letter asking the official to remain calm as everything was alright.
Sitharaman also alleged that the then Chairperson of the National Advisory Council Sonia Gandhi used to run the PMO regularly during the UPA regime. Was that not interference?