JAMSHEDPUR: In a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi-led central government, senior Congress leader Raj Babbar today described the Rafale fighter jet deal as "immoral and illegal", aimed to benefit an industrialist close to the Prime Minister.
The Narendra Modi-led central government violated all norms while signing the deal with the France-based company, Babbar alleged at a press conference here.
"The Rafale deal is the biggest-ever defence scam, aimed to extend benefits to just one company, formed barely days before the deal was signed. Even the key officials in the Union ministries of defence, external affairs and finance were unaware of the deal," the Uttar Pradesh Congress chief said.
He accused the Centre of breaking protocol by favouring one individual.
"There was no security hazard in disclosing the details, as claimed by the NDA government. In the past too, the UPA government divulged information about Sukhoi and Mirage aircraft deals," the Congress leader claimed, accusing the Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of "lying to the country".
The Uttar Pradesh Congress chief also questioned the increased prices of the Rafale jets.
"How is that the price of jet magically rose from Rs 526 crores to Rs 1670 crore and why was the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited kept out of the deal?" he said.
The NDA government is shying away from a probe into the allegations as they are scared of skeletons tumbling out of the closet, Babbar added.
Hitting out at Jaitley yesterday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi called for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the deal.
"How about a Joint Parliamentary Committee to sort it out? Problem is, your Supreme Leader is protecting his friend, so this may be inconvenient. Do check & revert in 24 hrs. We're waiting!" he tweeted.
In another related post this morning, Gandhi said Jaitley's deadline for replying to his tweet is fast approaching.
"Dear Mr Jaitley, Less than 6 hrs left for your deadline on the #Rafale JPC to run out. Young India is waiting," he added.