The Congress on Thursday protested in the Lok Sabha, accusing the Centre of misleading the country about the Rafale deal, PTI reported. The house was adjourned as the Opposition party continued to protest.
During Zero Hour, Congress leader Mallikarjuna Kharge sought the Speaker’s permission to bring up the “biggest scam in the country” and claimed that the Rafale deal has compromised India’s national security.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, however, continued with the listed business. Several Congress legislators protested against her decision by storming the Well of the House, shouting slogans and carrying placards against the deal. The legislators demanded a joint parliamentary committee inquiry into the matter and a reply from the prime minister.
Mahajan decided to adjourn the House, first till 1 pm and then till 2 pm after the legislators continued to protest.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal introduced bills to amend the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States), the Integrated Goods and Service Tax and the Central Goods and Services Tax laws for consideration. These were later passed by the Lok Sabha, confirmed BJP MP Ananthkumar. The Lower House also passed the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017, reported ANI.
Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan also introduced the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018, which aims at widening the use of DNA-based technology to help solve criminal cases such as rape, murder, and human trafficking, and identify unclaimed dead bodies and victims of disasters. The bill seeks to set up DNA data banks at both the national and regional levels, which would store and maintain DNA profiles, reported IANS.
On Wednesday, advocate Prashant Bhushan and former Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie issued a joint statement, calling the Rafale deal with France a “major scandal” and “by far larger than ones that the country has had to contend with in the past”. Union Minister Arun Jaitley and Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have refuted the allegations.
Reliance Defence and Aerospace President Rajesh K Dhingra also denied allegations of nepotism in granting of a contract related to the deal.
On July 20, Congress President Rahul Gandhi lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha, claiming they had not been truthful about the deal. He asked the government why the contract was taken away from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and given to a businessman who is under a lot of debt. It was an apparent reference to Anil Ambani.
Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is in charge of the Congress’ communications department, has urged Modi to respond to the questions asked by his former colleagues. “You shun the Opposition and keep mum,” he alleged on Wednesday.