The Lok Sabha on Thursday witnessed a ruckus and was adjourned twice over the Rafale fighter jet deal with the agitated Congress MPs storming into the Well of the House, demanding a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned twice after Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge raised the issue during Zero Hour, alleging that the 2016 deal for procuring 36 Rafale multi role fighter aircraft from Dassault Aviation of France for the Indian Air Force was “a Rs 45,000 crore scam”.
He accused the BJP-led government of misleading the nation on the deal. Kharge alleged that while negotiations during the erstwhile Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government’s tenure had fixed the price of each Rafale jet at Rs 526 crore, it had gone up to about Rs 1600 crore after the Narendra Modi government inked a deal with the French government for procuring 36 aircraft in fly-away condition from Dassault Aviation.
“This is the biggest scam in the country and it is worth Rs 45,000 crore,” said Kharge. He demanded constitution of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the alleged scam.
The Congress stepped up its attack on the Modi government a day after former BJP leaders, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, joined activist and eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan in a news conference and alleged that the Rafale deal was the biggest defence scam of the country ever.
Soon after Kharge finished speaking, the Congress MPs trooped into the Well of the Lok Sabha with placards that read “Constitute JPC to investigate Rafale scam” and “Stop misleading Parliament and the people”. They also raised slogans, demanding a response from the prime minister, who was not present in the House.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan first adjourned the Lok Sabha for about 20 minutes. But when the House reassembled at 1 pm, it continued to witness uproar as the Congress MPs returned to the Well.
They continued to demand a JPC probe into the deal, even as interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal started speaking on the Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill, 2018.
The Speaker again adjourned the House till 2 pm. The Congress MPs, however, continued to raise slogans from the Well even after the House reassembled and Goel resumed speaking on the bills.