NEW DELHI: The Congress on Wednesday questioned the different standards adopted by the government in two separate defence deals, related to purchase of Rafale jets from France and AK 103 assault rifles from Russia.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi pointed out that while the government turned down the Russian request for involvement of a private player in the AK 103 rifles contract, it had no reservations about offset benefits worth Rs 30,000 crore going to Reliance Defence in the Rafale deal.
“The Prime Minister and all other Union ministers have claimed that government is not involved in offset contract between French manufacturer Dassault and Reliance. But in the recent AK 103 assault rifle deal, Russia wanted a private Indian company in the contract, but the government rejected the demand. Why was a different rule applied in the Rafale contract?” Singhvi asked.
He claimed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had recently said offset contract in the AK 103 deal could be given only to the government or its arm like the Ordinance Factory Board.
The Congress has kept up the heat on Rafale despite Reliance sending legal notices to party leaders. “The government is changing the rules as the game is on,” Singhvi said, adding that he was seeking a clarification on the offsets issue, not on the AK 103 deal.