Rafale row: ‘Falsehood’ not a substitute for Rahul Gandhi’s ‘failed’ politics, says Arun Jaitley

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Arun Jaitley

Launching a scathing attack against the Congress president over the ongoing Rafale row, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs  Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that “falsehood is not a substitute for Rahul Gandhi’s failed politics”. He also claimed  that his government has bought Rafale jets “at a cheaper” price. 

“Realising that the Modi government bought the Rafale at a price cheaper than what UPA was negotiating the disrupter’s are now reporting to petty hair-splitting,” Jaitley tweeted.

“UPA delayed the Rafale purchase, much required for improving the combat ability of Indian Airforce. Is Rahul Gandhi’s failed politics compelling him to render India’s sensitive defence requirements controversial?” he added.

Meanwhile, Left parties on Tuesday alleged that the Modi government had spun a “web of lies” to hide “corruption” and its “wrongdoings” in the Rafale jet fighter deal. 

The political row over the deal escalated on Tuesday with the Congress dismissing as “manufactured lies” claims by Dassault CEO Eric Trappier that there was no wrong-doing.

In a media interview, Trappier claimed no wrong-doing in the Rs 58,000 crore deal, asserting it was a “clean deal” and that his company chose Reliance as an offset partner.

Taking a dig at the CEO’s claim, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said “cronies” of all kinds, from France to India, were trying to defend the Modi government on the issue and such efforts will go in vain. 

“Modi government has resorted to a web of lies to hide the corruption in Rafale scam. Cronies of all kinds, from France to here in India, are out trying to defend the indefensible. But their lies have all been nailed,” the CPI(M) leader tweeted.    

He alleged that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre had paid 40 per cent more for each aircraft to Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the Rafale fighter jet.

“This proves that Modi government paid 40 pc more for each Rafale aircraft. This is the amount of corruption in the scam where Rs 59,000 crore of our money is involved,” Yechury said on Twitter.

In remarks coming a day after the government had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “admitted to his theft” in the Rafale deal and that changes were made in the jet contract without consultation.

“Modi has admitted to his theft in the Supreme Court. In the affidavit, he admitted to changes in the contract without asking the Air Force and putting Rs 30,000 crore in Ambani’s pocket,” Gandhi tweeted in Hindi. 

Gandhi’s remarks come in the wake of the Central government making public the document submitted to the Supreme Court detailing the decisions taken to procure 36 fighter aircraft from France as announced by Modi in 2015. 

In the document titled “Details of the steps in the decision-making process leading to the award of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft order”, the Central government has defended the deal and asserted that the purchase of the fighter aircraft was in conformity with the process laid down in the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2013. 

Rahul Gandhi has been accusing PM Modi of corruption.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Pravin Auti Author