Rafale Deal: Rahul Hits Back at Jaitley, Says Order JPC Probe
Dismissing Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's latest defence of the government over the choosing of an offset partner in the Rafale deal, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday, 23 September, asked him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "stop lying" and instead order for a JPC probe.
“It’s high time he (Jaitley), the RM (Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman) and our Prime Minister stop lying and call a JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) to establish the full, un-corrupted truth about the Rafale scam,” he said.
Gandhi was referring to Jaitley’s latest comment on the deal, where he launched a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi for his comments and asserted that despite allegations, the deal will not be scrapped.
Speaking to ANI, the finance minister asserted that Rafale jets were cheaper than the negotiated price of the UPA-led government. The figures of the same were presented to the CAG, Jaitley said.
“Fortunately, there is pricing, and for security interest, that pricing can’t be disclosed in detail. But I have come as close to this. If you take a weaponised aircraft as of 2007, add the same two things to it again and bring it to 2016 level, the 2016 level is 20 percent cheaper. Now the CAG will go into pricing. They may not eventually disclose it, but about being 9 percent and 20 percent cheaper or not, they are looking into it. Congress has submitted a memorandum. The truth will come out.”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI
Jaitley claimed that former French president Francois Hollande’s statement was “orchestrated” and “in rhythm” with Rahul Gandhi’s tweet on 30 August.
“I think he (Rahul Gandhi) is in some kind of a revenge mode. I won’t be surprised if the whole thing is being orchestrated. On 30 August, why did he (Rahul) tweet “Just wait for a while, some bombs are going to be burst in Paris”? And then what happens is in perfect rhythm with what he predicted.”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI
However, when asked if he implied that Hollande and Gandhi were linked together, the finance minister said he didn’t know. Yet, he saw a “perfect coincidence” between the tweet and Hollande’s claims.
Rahul Gandhi’s tweet from 30 August was:
‘There Can’t Be Two Versions of Truth’
He further said that there can’t be two versions of the same truth, referring to Hollande’s second statement, where he said he was unaware if the Indian’s side had pressured Dassault to work with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence.
Jaitley said that the Congress believes only the first statement made by Hollande.
Furthering his attack on Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said:
“Pity Rahul Gandhi’s understanding - how is it a scandal if a dozen Indian companies say that for a 56,000 crore contract, if offsets are going to be 28,000 crore, I want to be among the 20 who are going to make offset supplies? Everyone will get 2000-4000 crore. How is it impropriety?”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI
On PM Modi’s Silence
FM Arun Jaitley also answered questions on why Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not yet spoken on the controversy.
On Gandhi Calling PM a ‘Chor’
Rahul Gandhi had, just a day before, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a thief in Rajasthan, to which Jaitley responded saying:
The former finance minister also responded to Rahul Gandhi’s tweet on Rafale Deal being a ‘surgical strike.’
Reactions Post Jaitley’s Interview
Following Jaitley’s allegations against Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI:
Former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav reacting to the blame-game between the Congress and the BJP told ANI that the need of the hour was the drawing up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee to take control of the situation.
“We demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Rafale deal. Without a JPC the truth will not come out, the issue has now become global,” he said.
Addressing a press briefing, former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma said: “Union Ministers are trying to hide PM Narendra Modi’s lies. They repeatedly and blatantly lie. This shows the nature of the current government,” ANI reported.
Adding that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Jaitley were “competing” against one another to uphold Modi’s “lies”, Sharma said:
“My message to Mr Modi is very clear. He cannot escape. All those who will try to cover up the scam of the century will be exposed. This has global ramifications.”
(With inputs from IANS and ANI)