Rafale deal info not being revealed in national interest: Minister

PTI Pune, Maharashtra, India Oct 05, 2018, 08.25 AM(IST)

File photo of a Rafale fighter jet. Photograph:( AFP )

Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said Thursday the details relating to the Rafale deal are not revealed in the national interest.

The Congress Thursday urged the CAG to carry out a forensic audit of the "Rs 60,150-crore" Rafale fighter jet deal and bring all "facts" on record to enable Parliament to fix accountability for the alleged scam in the contract.

"Our basic price of Rafale aircraft is nine per cent less that that decided under the UPA government. When we purchase a raw Rafale aircraft, it is only for transportation but to convert it into a potent air defence aircraft, a lot of things need to be added," the minister said.

"So if we reveal what are these additional things to media, our enemy across the border will not need to deploy a secret service agency (to find out these details) and this why, in the national interest, the information is not being divulged," Bhamre told reporters here.

Refuting the allegations of irregularities in the deal, Bhamre said all norms and procedures were followed.

Talking about the depleted number of squadrons of the Indian Air Force, Bhamre said if India needs to fight on two fronts, the air force needs a total of 42 squadrons.

"Currently we have 33 squadrons. This operational criticality is there since 2001, but the Congress, despite knowing the country's requirement, did not take any decision (to purchase new aircraft) till 2013," he said.

When the Congress-led UPA did not negotiate any deal, on what basis it was saying that the price fixed then was lower, the minister asked.

"The Modi government has an impeccable record in the last four years, and that is why the opposition is frustrated. They just need an issue before the elections," he said.

The allegations levelled by the opposition are manufactured, baseless and not in the interest of the country, he said.

Earlier Thursday, Bhamre inaugurated Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Pune Cantonment. It is the first ITI under the Ministry of Defence situated in a cantonment area.