The opposition Congress on Thursday started a protest march towards PM Narendra Modi's house over the alleged ‘Rafale scam’, claimed by party president Rahul Gandhi. The Congress leaders have announced a gherao of PM Modi’s residence in Delhi over the same. The protest came a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in an exclusive interview to ANI rubbished Gandhi's allegations over Rafale deal, terming it a “Kindergarten debate”.
To clear the air on controversies surrounding Rafale deal, Jaitley said, "What was negotiated from 2015 to 2016 and finally executed in 2016, with the escalations and the currency variations, the basic aircraft price turns out to be 9% cheaper. Is the Congress party aware of this?".
“Quantum in defence is always large. Therefore, quantum doesn’t mean anything. Please produce a shred of evidence that Government of India has anything to do with any of the offset suppliers for any contract, whether under UPA or NDA” the finance minister explained.
Launching a series of fresh salvo on the Congress president, Jaitley further stated, "I have, at least twice, repeated this sentence, how much does he know and when will he know? Can you compare a basic aircraft’s pricing with a loaded aircraft? Can you compare simple aircraft with a weaponized aircraft?”
“Congress must remember that it can’t fool people all the time. This is a government to government arrangement. Offset has nothing to do with this contract. The government will purchase 36 fully-loaded aircraft from France, no private party involved. Government’s role ends,” FM Jaitley lambasted. Read Full Story Here.
Meanwhile, in what could be a big reason of embarrassment for Rahul Gandhi, Reliance owner Anil Ambani broke his silence over the much talked about Rafale deal, saying that Rahul Gandhi is ‘uninformed and unaware’.
Terming Gandhi's allegations "baseless, ill-informed and unfortunate," Ambani further said, "truth alone will prevail" as the charges are driven by "malicious vested interests and corporate rivals."
Ambani, the multi-millionaire business tycoon was addressing the media and was asked why he chose to exclude the Congress president in the Rs 5,000-crore defamation case filed by his company on the Rafale deal.
"I have personally written to Gandhi stating that the Congress has been misinformed, misdirected and misled on the Rafale deal by malicious vested interest and corporate rivals," the Reliance chief said while interacting with reporters on the sidelines of RInfra's power business sale to the Adani group in Mumbai.
Gandhi too did not take long to launch a scathing attack and took to Twitter to announce a 24-hour challenge in response to Jaitley's accusation of "peddling untruth" on the Rafale fighter jet deal.
"Mr Jaitley, thanks for bringing the nation’s attention back to the GREAT RAFALE ROBBERY! How about a Joint Parliamentary Committee to sort it out? Problem is, your Supreme Leader is protecting his friend, so this may be inconvenient. Do check and revert in 24 hrs. We’re waiting!".
Mr Jaitley, thanks for bringing the nation’s attention back to the GREAT #RAFALE ROBBERY! How about a Joint Parliamentary Committee to sort it out? Problem is, your Supreme Leader is protecting his friend, so this may be inconvenient. Do check & revert in 24 hrs. We’re waiting!— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 29, 2018
Thursday too, the Congress president posted a tart reminder to the finance minister, saying "Dear Mr Jaitley, Less than 6 hrs left for your deadline on the #Rafale JPC to run out. Young India is waiting. I hope you're busy convincing Modi Ji and Anil Ambani Ji about why they should listen to you & approve this! @ArunJaitley".
Dear Mr Jaitley,
Less than 6 hrs left for your deadline on the #Rafale JPC to run out.
Young India is waiting. I hope you're busy convincing Modi Ji and Anil Ambani Ji about why they should listen to you & approve this! @ArunJaitley— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 30, 2018
The Congress has announced 'PM House Gherao' at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to Nepal to take part at BIMSTEC Summit in capital city Kathmandu.
Modi will leave for India later on Friday.