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Defence Minister hits back at Congress over Rafale

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday hit back at the Congress over its charges on Rafale aircraft deal saying that its entire campaign on the issue is based on falsehood.

Replying to a debate on Rafale deal in the Lok Sabha, Ms Sitharaman said, the Congress is misleading the country both in the Parliament and outside on basis of untruth.

She said, the NDA government has done a better deal than the UPA with 9 per cent cheaper basic price than during the UPA times.

The defence minister, however, said, under the secrecy clause the price of weaponised aircraft cannot be disclosed and earlier governments also followed it.

On the issue of not involving Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, HAL in the deal, Ms Sitharaman said, the aircraft manufactured by France will be cheaper than the aircraft made by the HAL as it would have required 2.7 time more manpower.

The Minister said the Supreme Court in its judgement also found no reason for intervention on the issue of purchasing 36 aircraft and perception of individuals cannot be the basis of an inquiry.

Later, the Congress staged a walkout demanding a JPC probe into the deal.