New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday hit out at the Congress over its attack on the government on the Rafale fighter jet deal, saying the party is flogging a dead horse to keep the issue alive. Her remarks came in the Lok Sabha after the Congress and other opposition parties created pandemonium over a news report accusing the Prime Minister's Office of conducting "parallel negotiations" with France on the multi-billion dollar Rafale deal.
"If the newspaper wanted to bring out the truth, they would have approached the Defence Ministry and done a thorough check... Every question on Rafale has been answered thoroughly and transparently... not just here in the House, but also in court," Sitharaman said during Zero Hour accusing the newspaper of "publishing a report without any facts" to back it.
The Minister said the Congress was raising the issue on the basis of a news report.
She said the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had replied to that Ministry of Defence note saying there was nothing to worry as everything was going alright.
Sitharaman then raised questions over the UPA government's advisory body National Advisory Council (NAC), saying "what do you call the NAC led by Sonia Gandhi's interference in the earlier PMO? What was that? During my reply on January 4, I have informed the House about interference of NSA".
"They (the Congress) are flogging a dead horse to keep the issue (Rafale) alive," said the Minister, accusing that the Congress is playing into the hands of multinational corporates.
She added that the Congress is damaging the country and that "I charge them for this offence".