Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily waded into a massive political controversy today by saying that the Air Force chief was lying and suppressing the truth in the Rafale deal. This comment by the Chairman of the Parliamentary standing committee on finance did not go down well with the ruling BJP or the men in uniform.
Moily sparked off the controversy when he told a news agency that “In govt records, Defence Ministry & IAF Chief wanted HAL to be involved. IAF Chief at that time visited HAL with Dassault & found it competent & that they have the expertise. I think IAF chief is not fine, he’s lying, he’s suppressing the truth”
Hitting out at Moily, Prakash Javdekar, Union HRD Minister said: “Today Veerappa Moily like senior leader also calls name for Air Force Chief that shows that their desperation is complete and they are totally shattered about the speed of inquiry with which the Government is going ahead against corruption”
BJP social Media Chief Amit Malviya asked on twitter whether Congress was “the only purveyor of truth?”
Former Army Man Surendra Poonia said on twitter that Veerappa Moily calling Air Force Chief a liar is “shameful”
Moily’s comments come a day after the Air Chief BS Dhanoa described the SC judgement on Rafale as a “fine judgement”.
Amidst the criticism, Moily did clarify and withdraw from the position he had taken earlier, but the damage was done.
The SC judgement on Rafale was widely seen as a virtual exoneration of the NDA Government’s position on Rafale. A number of contentious issues like the correctness of decision making, suitability of the aircraft and the fact that there was need for a further detailed inquiry as was being sought by the petitioners.
This was seen as a massive setback for the Congress’s campaign against the PM on alleged corruption in the Rafale deal. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had repeadtedly used the phrase “chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is a thief) in this context throughout the campaign in the recently held five state assembly elections.