Union defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, November 23 said Congress president Rahul Gandhi is "misguiding" people on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal with France and advised him to approach her predecessor A K Antony of the Congress to understand the process of defense procurement.
Gandhi has repeatedly alleged a mega scam in the Rafale fighter jet deal and accused the Modi government of favouring a private company in offset contract related to the Rs 58,000-crore defense agreement with Paris. The government has vehemently denied Gandhi's charges.
"If he contacts and holds discussions with former Defense Minister (and Congress leader) A K Antony on the process of procurement in the Rafale deal, he will understand it," she told reporters here.
The BJP leader was replying to a query about Gandhi making the controversial deal a big issue in the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections.
"But his intention was not to understand it. His intention is to misguide people over Rafale deal, so wherever he goes he raises it to misguide people," Sitharaman added.
"The public won't be misguided by him. We have taken the decision (to buy 36 Rafale jets from France) without kickback," the minister said.
She said this level of transparency in the Ministry of Defense was not there during earlier procurements (under the Congress rule). To another query on the Rafale deal, Sitharaman said she would not comment as the issue is pending before the Supreme Court.
She said the NDA government has been giving clear and correct information about the mega defence deal and it will continue doing so. Sitharaman said the Congress has no poll issue to talk about in Madhya Pradesh so it is raising the Rafale matter in the state, which goes to the polls on November 28.
"It is not a national issue also," the minister said to another query on the Rafale deal.