NDA paid 9% less per Rafale jet than price negotiated by UPA, Nirmala Sitharaman tells Lok Sabha

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New Delhi | Published: January 4, 2019 9:11:42 PM

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today mounted a spirited attack on the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi for misleading the country over the price of Rafale fighter jets acquired from France under an inter-governmental agreement.

nirmala sitharaman, parliament, lok sabha, rajya sabha, rahul gandhi, congress, rafale dealUnion Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during the discussion on issues relating to Rafale deal, in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi, Friday. (PTI)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today mounted a spirited attack on the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi for misleading the country over the price of Rafale fighter jets acquired from France under an inter-governmental agreement.

Citing the hitherto unknown details of the Rafale fighter jet deal, Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed in the Lok Sabha that the price negotiated by UPA government will actually work out to be Rs. 737 crore in 2016 when the Modi government signed the deal, as per the formula of cost escalations and currency exchange variation mentioned in the original MMRCA contract.

A visibly charged defence minister asserted that as against the price of Rs. 737 crore per aircraft Modi government got the aircraft Rs. 670 crore a piece in 2016 which is 9% cheaper.

Nirmala Sitharaman also accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi of citing multiple figures of Rafale fighters negotiated during the previous UPA government.

She said Rahul Gandhi cited multiple figures from Rs. 520 crore per aircraft to Rs. 737 crore. She accused Rahul of not having one definite figure negotiated by the previous Congress government.

“How many times, we have heard the prices given by the Congress. Do they know what they are talking about? They quote the price of Rs. 526 crore which is not substantiated anywhere. Only God knows!” wondered Nirmala Sitharaman while referring to several figures quoted by Congress president Rahul Gandhi in different rallies.

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In a strong rebuttal to the accusation of Congress that the government paid Rs. 1600 crore per Rafale fighter jet, Nirmala Sitharaman said the price of a weaponised aircraft cannot be compared with the basic aircraft as it would amount to comparing apple with orange.

While seeking clarification from the defence minister after her reply, Congress President Rahul Gandhi did try to cite the terms and conditions laid down in the original request for proposal (RFP) issued during the tenure of previous UPA government to convey that the price quoted by Congress party was for the weaponised aircraft.

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