NCP's Supriya Sule says Sharad Pawar's questions to Centre on Rafale were ignored; Tariq Anwar quits

Days after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar said that people 'do not have doubts' over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intentions in the Rafale deal, his daughter and party MP Supriya Sule on Friday said that the questions that he raised over the deal are being ignored.

In a series of tweets, Sule said, "It’s disappointing that people have not heard (Sharad Pawar) where he has clearly raised three questions: 1) What is the justification for a 300 percent price increase from Rs 526 crores to Rs 1,670 crores which potentially could be a significant loss to the exchequer? 2) If such doubts have been raised and the government is so confident, then why are they shying from setting up a JPC? 3) When the BJP raised both price and specification issues during the Bofors allegations, then why are they hiding behind the artificial justification of secrecy of agreements vis-a-vis both commercial price and offset agreements?"

File image of NCP leader Supriya Sule. AFP

File image of NCP leader Supriya Sule. AFP

Pawar's comments on Wednesday, made to a Marathi news channel, set off a political storm, and the NCP's national general secretary Tariq Anwar on Friday said that he had resigned from the party and Parliament due to the party president's statement.

Anwar told reporters he was "hurt" by Pawar's comments. The party later came out with a clarification, saying it did not amount to a clean chit to the prime minister.

In the interview, Pawar, who is a former defence minister, also said the Opposition's demand to share technical details relating to the fighter jet "made no sense". He, however, said there was no harm for the government to disclose prices of the aircraft.

"I don't think people have doubts about Modi's intentions personally," Pawar told the news channel.

He, however, said the way defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the government's side led to confusion in the minds of people.

"Now, (Union Finance Minister Arun) Jaitley can be seen articulating (government's stand) on the issue (instead of Sitharaman)," he added.

The Congress has launched an offensive against the BJP government over the Rafale deal, alleging corruption and violation of rules by Modi. It has accused the government of causing loss to the public exchequer and endangering national security by bypassing the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in favour of some businessman "friends" for offset contract.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Sep 28, 2018 17:16 PM

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