Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday termed the Congress allegations on the Rafale deal as “complete falsehood” and said the basic aircraft price at which the fighter jets had been bought was 9 per cent cheaper than that negotiated by the UPA government.
In a blogpost, Jaitley accused the Congress of seriously compromising national security by delaying the Rafale deal by over a decade and alleged that it was raising issues to “further delay defence procurement so that India’s defence preparedness further suffers”.
He said the Congress had launched a “false campaign” that the Modi government had paid a higher price for the fighter jets, an industrialist had been favoured and the interests of the public sector were compromised.
“Each one of the above issues is based on complete falsehood. It is expected from national political parties and its responsible leaders to keep themselves informed of the basic facts before they enter a public discourse on defence transactions,” Jaitley said.
“Every fact that Gandhi and the Congress has spoken on pricing and procedure are completely false,” he said.
“The UPA was a government which suffered from a decision-making paralysis. Do you agree that the delay of over one decade was only on account of the incompetence and indecisiveness of the UPA Government?
“Did this delay seriously compromise national security? Is not the medium multi-role combat aircraft required by our forces to identify and strike at targets particularly when two of our neighbours have already enhanced their strength in this area?
“Was this delay and eventual abatement of the purchase by the UPA based on collateral considerations as had been witnessed in earlier transactions such as the purchase of the 155 mm Bofors gun?” Jaitley questioned.
The Minister said the Congress and its President Rahul Gandhi were unaware of the Rafale deal facts.
“How is it that Gandhi quoted a price of Rs 700 crore per aircraft in Delhi and Karnataka in April and May? In Parliament, he reduced it to Rs 520 crore per aircraft, in Raipur he increased it to Rs 540 crore, in Jaipur he used Rs 520 crore and Rs 540 crore in the same speech,” he said.
“Truth has only one version, falsehood has many. Are these allegations being made without any familiarity with the facts of the Rafale purchase?” he asked.