Congress hits back over Rafale deal, says NDA making shoddy cover up
New Delhi [India], November 17 : Congress on Friday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government over Rafale deal after Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said "a transparent procedure" was followed in the acquisition. "India's defence preparedness cannot be subject matter of politicising nor can the sacrosanct premises of 'Defence Ministry' be used for political mudslinging as is being done by Prime Minister Modi government and its Defence Minister," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said while addressing the media here. While reiterating the allegations levelled by Congress two days ago, Surjewala said the National Democratic Alliance government's "repeated attempts at shoddy cover-up and complete non-transparency in purchase of Rafale aircraft" have raised serious questions. Earlier in the day, Sitharaman launched a scathing attack on the Congress party, saying that the acquisition process of Rafale fighter jets was delayed due to the inaction by United Progressive Alliance (UPA), while it was in power for ten years until 2014. "Between 2004 and 2014, entire decade the UPA could not arrive at a decision. Twelve long years of negotiations and still (there was) no decision, although critically recognising the need for strengthening the (Indian) Air Force," said Sitharaman while addressing a press conference here. The defence minister said when Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government came to power in 2014, the situation was 'grim' and that they "had to move quickly forward so that the air force is not left unattended."