Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday announced to move privilege motion in the Lok Sabha against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "for making misleading statements" during the raging debate on the No-Confidence Motion.
"The Prime Minister's claim on transparency in the agreement is factually incorrect, untrue and deliberately made with the intention to mislead the House," Kharge, in his letter to Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, said.
During the No-Confidence Motion debate between the ruling National Democratic Alliance and the Opposition in the Lok Sabha on July 20, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in corruption in the Rafale deal and claimed that during the French President's visit to India, the latter had denied the presence of a secrecy pact.
However, in retaliation, Sitharaman had said that the government could not reveal the commercial cost of the jets because of a clause in the Rafale agreement which India and France had signed in 2008, when the UPA was in power.
A statement from France also had stated that an agreement had been inked to protect classified information in the light of security.
Talking about the same, Kharge in his letter wrote, "The Prime Minister had asserted that the demand for revealing the purchase price of Rafale jet fighters was against the interest of the nation and had to be contradicted by both the governments, India and France. He had further claimed the acquisition of Rafale jet fighters between India and France is fully transparent whereas the Defence Minister in his presence on the floor of the house had refused to reveal the price citing a Confidentiality Agreement between the two countries, India and France, in 2008.
He added, "The Government of France in its statement had nowhere contradicted what was demanded in the House by the Opposition, which is to disclose the price of Rafale jet fighters. It had merely referred to the 2008 Confidentiality Agreement."
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had earlier signed a deal with France based Dassault Aviation to purchase 36 Rafale jets, which is slated to be one of the world's biggest military procurements in recent history and could cost the Indian government USD 15 billion.