New Delhi: Even as the Congress-led opposition parties demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, senior ministers of the National Democratic Alliance indicated that the Union government was not in favour of a parliamentary probe.

Allegations of corruption in the defence deal have become a flashpoint between the opposition and the government, with the parties questioning the price of the deal and the choice of the offset partner.

Senior ministers, however, argued that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is already looking into the intricacies of the deal and that there was no need for a JPC. “There is no corruption or wrongdoing on the part of the government, there is no need for a JPC," said a senior minister, requesting anonymity.

Continuing his attack against the centre, Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged that the government has snatched money away from the poor. “The chowkidar (watchman) of the country has taken out 20,000 crore from the pockets of the poor, martyrs and the jawans and put it in the pocket of industrialists," he said, while addressing a meeting in his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi.

In a bid to corner the government, a delegation of senior Congress leaders met CAG Rajiv Mehrishi to submit a memorandum over the alleged “irregularities" in the Rafale deal. “The deal worth thousands of crores, which could have benefitted the youth and the country, was given to an industrialist," alleged Gandhi.

The purchase of the 36 Rafale jets, which are to be inducted into the Indian Air Force from September 2019, has been in the eye of the storm. The controversy got fresh fuel after former French president Francois Hollande was quoted by a French publication, Mediapart, as saying that France was given “no choice" on selection of the Indian partner. On Saturday, AFP had quoted Hollande as saying that he was unaware, whether India put pressure to select the Indian partner.

PTI contributed to this story

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