The war of words on the Rafale deal reached a new low when senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily accused IAF Chief BS Dhanoa of suppressing the truth.
Moily quoted to news agency ANI, “In government records, the defence ministry and IAF chief wanted HAL to be involved. IAF chief at that time visited HAL with Dassault and found it (HAL) competent and declared that they have the expertise. I think IAF chief (Dhanoa) is not fine, he is lying, he is suppressing the truth.” He was responding to Dhanoa’s statement supporting the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Rafale deal yesterday.
Dhanoa told reporters in Jodhpur yesterday that the Supreme Court had given a “fine judgment’ on petitions against Rafale and called the Rafale aircraft a game changer. He had also said that politicization of defence purchases is not advisable, recalling how it had even led to delays in procurement of Bofors guns. He further added that it was not necessary that Rafale prices be revealed to the public, as CAG was there to look into pricing issues. Moreover, it could reveal the aircraft’s capabilities to the enemy.
The Congress has accused the BJP government of unfairly favouring Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, which was made the offset partner in the Rafale deal instead of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). It has also alleged that the BJP Government is acquiring the planes at a much higher cost than the previous UPA deal. Furthermore, Congress has said that the government misrepresented facts to the Supreme Court, thereby influencing the judgment on the deal.
The government had asked for a factual correction on the presence of a CAG report in the judgment, which is not yet finalized. Congress leader Anand Sharma has said, “We urge the Supreme Court to recall its judgment on Rafale and issue notices of perjury and contempt of court to the government.” He added, that the government had committed “breach of privilege” of both Houses of Parliament by claiming that the CAG report on Rafale pricing had been presented to the PAC.