Defence Minister rubbishes fresh Rafale charges, accuses newspaper of publishing only half document

New Delhi:

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slammed the opposition in the Lok Sabha today once again for creating ruckus over media report on Rafale deal.

An English Newspaper The Hindu published a report today based on a document saying that the Defence Ministry protested against PMO undermining #Rafale negotiations. However, it was later disclosed that the newspaper only published half the letter and not the full letter which had then Defence Minister Manohar Parriker’s clarification on the issue and another part which said that the PMO only discussed things like bank guarantees and general terms and conditions etc.

G Mohan Kumar, Defence Secretary at the time of Rafale negotiations, has also made it clear that the note had nothing to do with pricing but it was related to sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions.

Citing the report, Congress and other opposition parties once again demanded JPC to investigate the Rafale deal. To which the Sitharaman replied that periodical enquiries by the PMO cannot be construed as interference.

The Defence Minister also accused the opposition of having vested interest and playing in the hands of multinational companies. Sitharaman said that the opposition is not working in the interests of the Indian Air Force.

Referring to the news paper report 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 questioned Congress saying 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?,” she asked.

Outside the Loksabha while speaking to the reported the Defence Minister said that “newspaper published a file noting written by Defence Secretary, If a newspaper publishes a noting then the ethics of journalism will demand that the newspaper publishes the then Defence Minister’s reply as well.”

The newspaper in question is yet to respond that why it published only half the document.