Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday, 23 September, launched a scathing attack on Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his comments on the ongoing Rafale deal controversy, and asserted that despite allegations, the deal will not be scrapped.
“Irrespective of the allegations, the Rafale deal will not be cancelled.”Arun Jaitley
Speaking to ANI, the finance minister asserted that Rafale jets were cheaper than the negotiated price of the UPA-led government. The figures of the same were presented to the CAG, Jaitley said.
“Fortunately, there is pricing, and for security interest, that pricing can’t be disclosed in detail. But I have come as close to this. If you take a weaponised aircraft as of 2007, add the same two things to it again and bring it to 2016 level, the 2016 level is 20 percent cheaper. Now the CAG will go into pricing. They may not eventually disclose it, but about being 9 percent and 20 percent cheaper or not, they are looking into it. Congress has submitted a memorandum. The truth will come out.”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI
While connecting the timing of former President Hollande’s statement on France having to go with Reliance as an Offset partner, Jaitley claimed that his statement was “orchestrated” and “in rhythm” with Rahul Gandhi’s tweet on 30 August.
“I think he (Rahul Gandhi) is in some kind of a revenge mode. I won’t be surprised if the whole thing is being orchestrated. On 30 August, why did he (Rahul) tweet “Just wait for a while, some bombs are going to be burst in Paris”? And then what happens is in perfect rhythm with what he predicted.”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI
However, when asked if he implied that Hollande and Gandhi were linked together, the finance minister said he didn’t know. Yet, he saw a “perfect coincidence” between the tweet and Hollande’s claims.
‘There Can’t Be Two Versions of Truth’
He further said that there can’t be two versions of the same truth, referring to Hollande’s second statement, where he said he was unaware if the Indian’s side had pressured Dassault to work with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence.
Jaitley said that the Congress believes only the first statement made by Hollande.
“Congress can believe anything, but you must remember a basic principle of conduct, which for centuries has ruled throughout the world, which is ‘men may state inaccurate facts, circumstances never lie.”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI
Furthering his attack on Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said:
“Pity Rahul Gandhi’s understanding – how is it a scandal if a dozen Indian companies say that for a 56,000 crore contract, if offsets are going to be 28,000 crore, I want to be among the 20 who are going to make offset supplies? Everyone will get 2000-4000 crore. How is it impropriety?”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI
On PM Modi’s Silence
FM Arun Jaitley also answered questions on why Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not yet spoken on the controversy.
“Let me tell you, those who are to speak have spoken. Merely because somebody can resort to untruths and vulgarity is no reason for the PM to participate in a debate of this kind. ”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI
On Gandhi Calling PM a ‘Chor’
Rahul Gandhi had, just a day before, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a thief in Rajasthan, to which Jaitley responded saying:
“Public discourse is not a laughter challenge, you go and hug someone, wink at someone, then keep giving wrong statements. In a democracy you have right to criticize but the choice of words should be such that it shows some semblance of intelligence.”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI
The former finance minister also responded to Rahul Gandhi’s tweet on Rafale Deal being a ‘surgical strike.’
“It is a highly objectionable statement. Surgical strike is something India should be proud of. Your patriotism is questionable if you are ashamed of it and refer to it in a derogatory manner.”Arun Jaitley, as quoted by ANI