'IAF chief is lying': Congress leader Veerappa Moily accuses BS Dhanoa of 'suppressing truth' about Rafale deal, refuses to apologise

Congress leader Veerappa Moily on Thursday sparked controversy by attacking IAF chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and calling him a "liar" over the Rafale deal. Dhanoa had earlier stated that the Supreme Court gave a “fine judgment” on petitions against the Rafale deal. Moily went on to accuse the IAF chief of "suppressing the truth" and stating that the IAF chief himself "is not fine".

In an exclusive interview to News18, Moily went on to clarify that he never called Dhanoa a "liar", stating that his words were taken out of context, but refused to apologise. He said that he originally wanted to ask what Dhanoa meant by "fine judgment".

Moily also pushed for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe, stating that Supreme Court is not competent enough. He claimed that the Supreme Court judgment is a "web of lies" as well.

BS Dhanoa had on Wednesday called Rafale a game changer and said the Supreme Court has given a “fine judgment” on petitions against the deal with France on the military aircraft.

He also cautioned against politicisation of defence purchases, suggesting that this had earlier led to the delay in the army acquiring the Bofors gun. Dhanoa said as far as the technology is concerned, there is no argument against the Rafale aircraft. His remarks on the sidelines of a joint military exercise with Russia come days after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking a probe into the Rafale deal.

The Congress has alleged irregularities in the deal for 36 aircraft and claimed that the Narendra Modi government is buying them at a price much higher than the one that was being negotiated by the previous government. Dhanoa said the Indian Air Force has made sure that the aircraft has the best systems onboard.

He said the planned procurement had already taken a long time and during this period India's neighbours have upgraded their own defence arsenal. “We need it, given our strategic scenario,” he said. The air chief appeared to back the government's assertion that revealing details on the price of the fully loaded aircraft would lead to rivals getting to know its capabilities.

He said the taxpayers had the right to know where their money goes, but the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) was there to ensure that it was being well spent. Referring to the shortfall in the number of aircraft, Dhanoa said the IAF is trying to optimise its resources.

On Wednesday, Congress said that the Supreme Court's judgment in the Rafale case is "self-contradictory" as it was misled by the government and the court should recall it to restore its credibility.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Dec 20, 2018 18:46:10 IST