PM spreading false information: A.K. Antony

Says India’s interest compromised

Published - March 05, 2019 10:19 pm IST - NEW DELHI

NEW DELHI, 05/03/2019: Former Union Minister A.K. Antony addressing a press conference at AICC Headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. March 5, 2019. Photo by Shiv Kumar Pushpakar /The Hindu

NEW DELHI, 05/03/2019: Former Union Minister A.K. Antony addressing a press conference at AICC Headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. March 5, 2019. Photo by Shiv Kumar Pushpakar /The Hindu

Former Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “spreading misinformation and compromising India’s interest” over the Rafale deal in a riposte to Mr. Modi’s accusation against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) of ‘compromising’ national security by delaying the purchase of the French combat aircraft.

“For last few days, none other than the Prime Minister is touring the country and spreading misinformation by saying that Congress compromised security over Rafale deal because of commission,” Mr. Antony said at a press conference. “My answer to the PM is purely on the basis of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report,” the Congress leader added.

Quoting from the CAG report that was submitted in the last session of Parliament he said,“Page 12 of the CAG report says four years were wasted by NDA government, from 2000 to 2004, just to decide whether to procure aircraft through single or multiple vendors, but it was during UPA’s tenure that the final tender was decided,” he said.

Explaining the delay in finalising the deal, Mr. Antony said the UPA government had received complaints of irregularities from BJP MPs Yashwant Sinha, Subramanian Swamy and three members of the contract negotiations committee (CNC).

“As a Defence Minister, can I throw the complaints into the waste paper basket? For the first time in India’s defence history, three members of the CNC complained of irregularity,” he said.

In a report submitted on March 27, 2015, a high-level committee appointed by the UPA government had found merit in the complaints and recommended cancellation of the request for proposal, Mr. Antony said.

“The Prime Minister must answer why he ignored the report submitted to him. The government can reject or accept the report but why did the government ignore the report?” he asked.

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