New Delhi: The war of words between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Congress President Rahul Gandhi over the Rafale deal continued on Monday when the Congress leader questioned Sitharaman’s statement at the News18 Rising India Summit where she had said that there’s no point in talking about “our price” and “your price”.
Gandhi on Monday said that while the Union minister insists that the government has paid their price, the “people” wants to know about this "price" that has been paid to purchase the fighter jets.
“What is the point of someone talking about ‘our price’ and ‘your price’ when you didn’t buy anything eventually?” Sitharaman had said on Saturday, while addressing the News18 Rising India Summit.
She was reacting to another statement by Gandhi a day before in which he had alleged that the deal had caused a loss of Rs 36,000 crore to the state exchequer even as the Army "begs" for more money.
Gandhi reiterated his claims of the NDA government paying a greater price for the same jets that the UPA government had bought at a much cheaper rate. In his tweet on Monday, Gandhi wrote: “The UPA negotiates the RAFALE down to 526 Cr. per plane. But Modi ji pays 1,670 Cr. instead. Loss to exchequer, over 40,000 Cr. RM's response? We paid "our" price. Who cares about "their" price? Answer: The PEOPLE care (sic)”
When quizzed if the ministry would be open to probe in the wake of the allegations, Sitharaman told News18 that there was absolutely no necessity.
The UPA negotiates the RAFALE down to 526 Cr. per plane. But Modi ji pays 1,670 Cr. instead. Loss to exchequer, over 40,000 Cr. RM's response? We paid "our" price. Who cares about "their" price? Answer: The PEOPLE care #RafaleScam — Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 19, 2018
“Probe?! What probe? You can look into the deal as much as you want, you will not find anything. There is no scam,” she said on Saturday.
The Congress has been demanding details of the deal, including cost of equipment and weapons, alleging that the deal negotiated under UPA was much cheaper than the contract signed by the Modi government.
On many occasions, the Congress had asked the government whether the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) clearance was taken before the PM announced about the procurement of the jets during his visit to Paris in April 2015.