Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman dismisses media report on Rafale

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday launched an all-out attack on the Congress and dismissed a media report on the Rafale deal.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, she said every question on the issue was over and done with.

Citing to the media report, she said. The ministry objected to the “parallel negotiations” by the PMO into the Rafale deal.

The paper had mentioned an internal note of the ministry, which said “parallel discussions by the PMO has weakened the negotiating positions by the MoD and the negotiating team”.

“We may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of the Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays with the officers of the French Government,” the note read.

As the Congress claimed it supports its contention about the interference of the PMO in the deal, Sitharaman said. “Then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikarji replied to that MoD note that ‘remain calm, nothing to worry, everything is going alright.”

“Now, what do you call the National Advisory Council (NAC) led by Sonia Gandhi’s interference in earlier PMO? What was that?” she added.

Parrikar’s handwritten remarks at the bottom of the report said the PMO and the French President’s Office were “monitoring the progress of the issue which was an outcome of the summit meeting.”

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge led the attack in the House on the issue quoting the latest Rafale report and demanded a joint parliamentary probe into the deal.