Union Minister Arun Jaitley today accused the Congress party and its president Rahul Gandhi of spreading lies about the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley today accused the Congress party and its president Rahul Gandhi of spreading lies about the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. Speaking to news agency ANI, he said that “every fact that the Congress party is putting in the public domain is factually false”. He said that Rahul himself has been quoting different prices with regard to the 2007 agreement when his party was in the power, adding that the deal signed by the BJP-led government is cheaper than what the UPA had settled for.
Accusing the Congress of compromising with national security by delaying the deal for 10 years, Jaitley said, “You comprised national security, you have not given any reason why you delayed it by ten years. The combat ability of our forces had to be increased; we live in a troubled zone.”
“Every fact that they have said on pricing is factually false. Rahul Gandhi himself has given seven different prices in different speeches with regard to the 2007 Rafale offer,” he added.
Linking the allegations levelled against his government by Rahul and his party to a ‘kindergarten or primary school debate’, Jaitley said: “Well, I was paying 500 something and you’ve paid 1600 something. That’s the argument being given. It shows how little understanding he (Rahul Gandhi) has.”
“I have, at least twice, repeated this sentence, how much does he (Rahul Gandhi) know and when will he know? Can you compare a basic aircraft’s pricing with a loaded aircraft? Can you compare simple aircraft with a weaponised aircraft?” he asked.
‘Rafale deal 9% cheaper’
The Finance Minister claimed that the deal sealed by the BJP-led government and France is cheaper than what the Congress-led had decided on. “What was negotiated from 2015 to 2016 and finally executed in 2016, with the escalations and the currency variations, the basic aircraft price turns out to be 9% cheaper. Is the Congress party aware of this?”
Jaitley further alleged that the Congress party is trying to misguide the people.
“Congress must remember that it can’t fool people all the time. This is a government to government arrangement. Offset has nothing to do with this contract. Government will purchase 36 fully-loaded aircrafts from France, no private party involved. Government role ends,” he said.
In a Facebook blog posted earlier in the day, Jaitley put 15 questions to Rahul Gandhi and claimed that the Rafale deal between India and France was on ‘better’ terms than the one agreed to by the UPA government in 2007.
The Congress party has been attacking the Modi government for the last six months over “excess” pricing of the deal. The party has claimed a scam in the purchase of the fighter jets from France and accused the government of favouring Reliance group chairman Anil Ambani.
The party has even questioned the government’s mention of a secrecy clause with France on the deal and dared the government to reveal the price and other details of the purchase. The government has, however, rubbished all charges and refused to divulge the details citing a secrecy pact signed between New Delhi and France during the UPA’s tenure. The secrecy clause was confirmed by French president Emmanuel Macron’s government through a statement that was put out minutes after Rahul Gandhi levelled allegations of corruption in the deal against the Prime Minister on the floor of the Lok Sabha.