New Delhi: While both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman — among other eminent Union ministers like Arun Jaitley — have answered questions on the India-France Rafale deal in parliament, the premier on Saturday dealt with the issue once again in the course of his interview on Republic Bharat.
On Congress allegations on the Rafael deal, Modi said that defence deals in the old dispensation used to be like an ATM, implying the UPA government used to make money from these contracts. “They cannot imagine that a defence deal can be struck with transparency and without corruption. Because of this, the Congress is having problems with the Rafael deal,” the Prime Minister said.

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Modi was asked if the Rafale dispute did not affect the perception of people about him. The Prime Minister was told that the opposition might be alleging that Rafale’s offset contract has gone to Anil Ambani to substantiate the other allegation that Modi worked only for 15 odd rich industrialists. To this, the Prime Minister said, “The Modi government gave power connections to nearly 2.5 crore households. Are there 2.5 crore rich industrialists in this country to whom I have supplied electricity?”

“I made nine crore toilets. Are these nine crore Ambanis and Adanis, for whom I built these toilets? I built 1.25 crore houses. Did I make them for the likes of Mukesh Ambani? These questions should be asked to the opposition. I need not answer questions that are baseless,” the Prime Minister said during the interview.

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The Prime Minister had, even on Thursday, blamed the previous Congress-led government for delays in acquiring military hardware, claiming that the party was more focused on “commissions” from defence deals.

Addressing a rally in Uttarakhand’s Rudrapur, he had alleged that the Congress sat on the deal for the Rafale fighter jets as it was eyeing some “malai” (commission, kickbacks) from it.

Modi said the Congress focus was on “malai”, not on national security.

Also read: Modi sarkar's Rafales cheaper than Sonia regime's: Each aircraft costs Rs 59 crore less