ongress president Rahul Gandhi today upped his ante against the NDA government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the controversial Rafale deal with France. A day after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused him of spreading untruth about the Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi hit back charging PM Modi of telling lies and helping industrialist Anil Ambani in the fighter jet contract with France.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Rahul Gandhi read out from the joint statement of PM Modi and French President Francois Hollande issued in Paris in April 2016 to dismiss the government’s claim that the configuration of the Rafale jet aircraft under the new deal is different from the one agreed during UPA regime.
Quoting from the joint statement, Rahul Gandhi said, “The two leaders agreedthat the aircraft and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by Indian Air Force”
Rahul Gandhi said, “The point is that it is written in the joint statement of the Prime Minister that the configuration of the aircraft would be the same and today the Prime Minister is saying something else. So, are we to assume that the man who gave a statement standing beside (French President Francois) Hollande was not Narendra Modi but someone else?”
“It is clearly written here that the configuration is going to be the same. So, the man is lying,” Rahul Gandhi said adding, “Our job is to tell the public truth. The prime minister said it himself that (configuration of) the aircraft is different. And, I showed you the statement of the Prime Minister where he is saying that (configuration of) the aircraft would be the same.”
Rahul Gandhi also took dig on the promises made by Narendra Modi during the last Lok Sabha election campaign. He said, “Prime Minister promised to give Rs 15 lakh. Prime Minister promised to give the appropriate price to farmers (of their produce). Prime Minister promised bullet train. There is a list of the promises made by him.”
“So, what the Prime Minister says, we don’t take them seriously. But when the Prime Minister tells a lie, we expose it. Prime Minister tried to help Anil Ambani in Rafale (deal),” he said.
Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Rafale deal with France was signed by the Modi government with the aim to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani.
He said, “Rafale is a clear-cut case. Anil Ambani has never made aircraft. Anil Ambani is in debt of Rs 45,000 crore. Anil Ambani floated (his defense firm) only a few days ago before the Rafale contract was signed.”
“On the other hand, there is the HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), which is making aircraft for 70 years. It has no debt. There are thousands of engineers who want to work,” Rahul Gandhi said.
“One-day the defense minister says that she will reveal the price of the aircraft. But the next day, she says that she will not tell the price of the aircraft. And, then we come to know that the price of the aircraft has gone up three times,” he said.
Demanding a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi said, “Why did you buy the aircraft that was to cost Rs 520 crore for Rs 1,600 crore? Who did you want to benefit with this purchase?” He said once the JPC is formed, all answers would come out.