Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to debate with him one-on-one on Rafale deal issue for 20 minutes and said, “everything will be clear what is what in the multi-billion deal”. Reiterating his charges, Gandhi said that the prime minister changed the contract and sidelined HAL.
In a press conference held in the national capital, Gandhi said: “I would like to debate one-on-one with PM on Rafale and on any strategic issues. Give me 20 minutes to debate with Prime Minister on Rafale and then see what is what.” He said that the Prime Minister changed the contract and inflated the price of fighter jets from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1600 crore. “We want to ask the Prime Minister that who changed the price? Did Indian Air Force object to the price inflation? Did the Defence Ministry object?” the Congress President said.
Responding to a question on the Supreme Court judgement on Rafale, Gandhi said: “The Supreme Court has not said that there should not be any probe. It (verdict) is not saying that there is no corruption in the deal. It is only saying that it is not in our jurisdiction to probe.” He said a JPC be formed to probe the deal. The Congress President further said that if probe happened “two names will come – Anil Ambani and Narendra Modi.
Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rejected the JPC demand saying that it won’t help as members will be divided on party lines. He further said that the Supreme Court has already looked into allegations raised by the opposition and found no reason to question the procedures. “When the Supreme Court speaks on an issue, it is the last word,” Jaitley said. Rejecting the JPC demand, Jaitley said: “Politicians may agree on policy matters but they will never agree on investigative matters.”