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After Arun Jaitley Poses 15 Questions to Congress on Rafale, Rahul Gandhi's Thanks and an Ultimatum

Arun Jaitley has accused Rahul Gandhi and the Congress of delaying the Rafale deal by over a decade and seriously compromising national security.


Updated:August 29, 2018, 6:21 PM IST
After Arun Jaitley Poses 15 Questions to Congress on Rafale, Rahul Gandhi's Thanks and an Ultimatum
File photo of finance minister Arun Jaitley.

New Delhi: The war of words between the Congress and the government over Rafale deal intensified on Wednesday as the opposition party rejected finance minister Arun Jaitely's contention that the government had nothing to do with the selection of partners for offset supplies.

Jaitley's sharp attack on Rahul Gandhi countering allegations on the Rafale deal was met by an equally vociferous response by the Congress party.

In a blog post titled ‘15 Questions that Expose Congress Party’s Falsehood on Rafale’, Jaitley accused Gandhi and the Congress of delaying the deal by more than a decade and seriously compromising national security. He said each claim made by the Congress on the pricing and procedure of the deal is “completely false”.

“For reasons best known to the UPA Government, on 27th June, 2012, the deal was directed to be re-examined, which effectively meant that the entire eleven-year exercise was abandoned and the process was to be undertaken afresh. India’s squadron strength was depleting because of age. This slow and casual approach of the UPA Government seriously compromised national security requirements,” the finance minister pointed out.

Rahul thanked Jaitley for his blog post and suggested that the government form a joint parliamentary committee to investigate the deal.

“Mr Jaitley, thanks for bringing the nation’s attention back to the GREAT #RAFALE ROBBERY! How about a Joint Parliamentary Committee to sort it out? Problem is, your Supreme Leader is protecting his friend, so this may be inconvenient. Do check & revert in 24 hrs. We’re waiting!” he tweeted.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma also said vendors have to disclose how the offset contracts would be discharged under the defence procurement policy.

"For him (Jaitley) to say that offset is not part of the contract is wrong," he said and demanded a probe alleging that Anil Ambani's Group had prior information that PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited would not get the offset contract.

The Congress has accused the Modi government of not disclosing the price of the aircraft and alleged that the price was three times higher than that negotiated during the UPA dispensation with France's Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the aircraft.

The Congress has also accused Modi of "personally benefitting" from the deal, and alleged that it was the reason behind his continued silence on the issue.

It has also accused Modi of helping his "friend" Anil Ambani in getting offset contracts for the aircraft, bypassing the public-sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Ambani's firm has sent defamation notices to many Congress leaders warning them against levelling charges that are "misleading". The company has asked Congress leaders to "cease and desist" from levelling such charges.

Anil Ambani recently wrote to Congress president Rahul Gandhi on the deal, saying his party has been "misinformed, misdirected and misled" by "malicious vested interests and corporate rivals" on the issue.

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