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Rahul nails the lie on defence deal
by RESMI SIVARAM February 10, 2018
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NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday released three documents from the days of the party-led UPA government, and claimed that he has “nailed” the “lie” that the Narendra Modi government has played up that the UPA never revealed defence deals.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while refusing to reveal the details of the Rafale jet plane deal with France, had asserted that the Manmohan Singh government never divulged defence deals, which he claimed are national secrets.

Rahul Gandhi on Friday made public three replies given by the previous UPA government in parliament about defence purchases. Playing a pun on Jaitley’s name, he tweeted: “Dear Mr Jaitlie, You said the UPA never released prices of Defence purchases? To nail your lie, here are 3 Parliamentary replies by the UPA with full transparency on pricing. Now do ask our Raksha Mantri to tell India how much each RAFALE jet cost.” Rahul asked for a discussion in parliament under a rule that makes it a must for the government to answer. Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said: “Rahul Gandhi wants the government’s clarification and he also wants to place some facts before the House.

There has been some irregularity in the Rafale deal and the government is hiding behind the confidentiality clause to avoid answers.” The UPA government’s reply relates to the deal for acquisition of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.

Rahul alleges that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman are silent on about the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets, because there is “something fishy” about it. He said India is paying more for the jets to France’s Dassault than the deal negotiated by the UPA government for multi-role aircraft. Under the deal, India will pay three times more than what it would have paid under a deal negotiated by the UPA government in 2012.

On Thursday, Jaitley said the Congress and its president are “seriously compromising India’s security” by insisting that the government disclose details of the Rafale aircraft deal. Jaitley said Pranab Mukherjee had refused to give details of a contract by calling the information classified.

“Kindly ask your party president to go to Pranab Mukherjee,” he told Congress members.

“My charge is they are seriously compromising India’s security,” Jaitley had said.

Alleging scam in Rafale deal, Rahul said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier said she would disclose all details about the pricing, but was now saying she could not do so as it was a state secret. “Which of her two statements are correct because she has made both statements,” he asked.

“We had asked three questions to the Prime Minister but there is no answer,” he said. “There can be only one answer and it is that there is something fishy about this.” Also at a media interaction, Congress media in-charge Randeep Surjewala and spokesperson Rajeev Gowda charged Sitharaman and Jaitley of speaking in different voices on the issues. “What is the price per aircraft of the 36 Rafale aircraft being purchased by the Modi government,” Surjewala asked. “Did the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman not agree to share the price of aircraft in a press conference at Raksha Bhawan on Nov.17, 2017. Why are the PM, the Defence Minister and the Finance Minister hiding the purchase price.” The Congress claimed that the Modi government “stumbles” and “fumbles” before the Rafael Deal as it “sacrifices National interest and refuses to answer on loss to public exchequer.”

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