Former Defence Minister AK Antony on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government at the Centre of not taking note of alleged irregularities committed in the price determination process for procuring Rafale fighter jets.
Talking to media persons here, Antony said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government ignored the report of the Inquiry Committee submitted in 2015 on the irregularities in the price determination process of the procurement of Rafale jets.”
“Why didn’t the Prime Minister abide by the recommendations of the committee appointed on the complaints made by Subramanian Swamy, Yashwant Sinha and the member of Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC),” he asked.
“If the Congress party would have done such a thing, we would have been bashed by the media,” said the former Defence Minister.
Complaints of irregularities in the price determination process began doing the rounds soon after Dassault was declared the lowest bidder in 2012. An inquiry was ordered. The Inquiry Committee submitted the report in March 2015 to then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The committee had reportedly stated that Dassault did not comply with the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQRs).
Former Defence Minister Antony’s comments come close on the heels of the recent remarks made by Prime Minister Modi in Amethi, where he had accused the Congress party of compromising national security by deliberately trying to create controversy over the Rafale deal, just because they could not get a commission.
Antony, however, retorted: “In my view, the Prime Minister sacrificed our national interest. He could have approved or rejected the report but he chose to ignore it. He must answer to the people of the nation as to why he ignored such a crucial report submitted by a high-committee.”
Talking about escalating tension between India and Pakistan, Antony said: “At this crucial hour, we must show solidarity and support to the armed forces, but our Prime Minister is politicising the issue. During our time, after a huge military operation, a defence spokesperson used to address the media and not the party president.