Rahul again targets Jaitley over Rafale

Sujana Chowdary

The controversy surrounding Rafale deal has become a dominating topic of the Indian political discourse after Janta Ka Reporter exclusively published a two-part series exposing how PM Modi had helped his billionaire friend at the cost hundreds of thousands of crores of Indian taxpayers' money.

He also advised the Congress President to "learn" from Pranab Mukherjee "lessons on national security".

Citing past precedents, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday reiterated the Government's stand that pricing details of Rafale or any Defence transactions can not be made public. Now the new act is, let us manufacture an allegation of corruption against the NDA. "These security pacts are inherent part of these defence contracts", he said. "And the manufactured issue is, please tell me the details of the Rafale deal", the finance minister said in the Lok Sabha referring to the demands by the Congress to make public details of the government-to-government deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

Rahul has been targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 2016 deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets.

However, hitting back at Congress leader, Jaitley accused the grand-old-party of "seriously compromising" the country's security by seeking details of armaments purchased along with the aircraft. Jailtey cited similar kind of replies given by Mukherjee and Antony while rejecting the questions on pricing of Defence purchases earlier.

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On Thursday, Gandhi took to Twitter to demand answers from the Government through Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Surjewala asked. "Why are the two ministers of the government speaking in two different voices?"

Questioned by a journalist outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan on whether he had used a spell check before putting out the tweet, Gandhi replied in mock surprise, "I need to look at the spell check".

"There can be only one answer and it is that there is something fishy about this", he said.

The Finance Minister also said that issues around the Railways and Petroleum will also be sorted out in consultation with the ministries concerned.

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