The Congress and BJP traded charges over the CAG’s findings on the Rafale deal in its report to Parliament Wednesday.
While Congress president Rahul Gandhi rejected the CAG report saying it did not mention the dissent note by negotiators and was, therefore, not worth the paper it was written on, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded an apology from him because the “SC order and CAG report on the Rafale jet deal have exposed his lies”.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley too hit out in a series of tweets, saying the “lies of ‘Mahajhootbandhan’ stand exposed… It cannot be that the Supreme Court is wrong, the CAG is wrong and only the dynast is right”.
Addressing a press conference, Gandhi said the CAG’s conclusion that the new contract was 2.86 per cent lower than the price assessed by the CAG for the UPA government’s deal “demolishes” the government’s earlier arguments that the deal was 9 per cent and 20 per cent cheaper.
He read out from what he called a “dissent note” by three senior officials of the Ministry of Defence who, he said, were part of a seven-member Indian Negotiating Team.
Gandhi said the note demolishes the government’s arguments on pricing and faster delivery of the Rafale aircraft.
“So here stands demolished the two pillars on which the entire government’s argument for the new deal are based. There is only one reason the new deal has been carried out and that is to give Anil Ambani Rs 30,000 crore,” he alleged.
Asked about the CAG report, he said “why is this document (the dissent note) not in this (CAG) report. Because this document was the document of the team that negotiated… these are the experts.”
Meanwhile, Union Minister Jaitley attacked the Congress: ”The lies of ‘Mahajhootbandhan’ stand exposed by the CAG Report. How does democracy punish those who consistently lied to the nation?”.
In an interview to ANI, Jaitley slammed the Congress for “manufacturing lies” over the Rafale deal and drew a parallel to the St Kitts issue in which, he said, the Congress did the same with former Prime Minister V P Singh in 1989.
“This is the Congress legacy… In 1989, the Rajiv government manufactured, framed a St Kitts issue against V P Singh who was a clean man. Exactly 30 years later, history is repeating itself. The Congress’s scandals are evident from court proceedings. They want to malign the image of Prime Minister Modi,” he said.