New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday took a dig at the Congress and its chief Rahul Gandhi for attacking the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale aircraft deal. Jaitley said Gandhi lacked information on the issue and the Congress party followed him in ignorance. Also Read - 'Light a Diya of Reason, Not Superstition', Congress' Kapil Sibal Mocks PM Modi's Appeal to Nation
“Congress has proved that in a dynastic party, ignorance is contagious… If one lacks information, all are ignorant,” Jaitley said after a meeting between the top security brass and the Union Council of Ministers over the Rafale deal. Also Read - Coronavirus: Total Positive Cases Climb to 1024, Death Toll Reaches 27, State Borders Sealed | Top Points
Jaitley said questioning the deal is the “biggest ignorance”. He said a basic aircraft is of “no use” as it can only fly the pilot. He said cost escalation and currency variations between 2007 and 2016 have to be considered. Also Read - 'Stand Together With Govt But Sudden Lockdown Created Immense Panic', Rahul Gandhi Writes to PM
He also pointed out that a weaponised jet is 20 per cent cheaper now after the negotiations. Since it is a government-to-government deal, no private party or a PSU is involved.
“The 36 jets will come in a fly away condition and not even a bolt will be fitted here … During UPA (rule), they did not believe in transfer of technology but preferred to buy (hardware) from foreign buyers …,” he said.
Referring to Bofors howitzer gun deal, he said while bribes can be taken, the weapons could not be manufactured here.
Jaitley’s remarks came amid repeated attacks by the Congress president against Modi government for allegedly inking the deal at a much higher price than the one the previous UPA regime had negotiated to benefit “one businessman”.
Last month, in his Facebook, Jaitley had termed the allegations by Rahul as “factually false” and said that the Congress president gave seven different prices in different speeches with regard to the 2007 aircraft deal.
He had posed 15 questions to Gandhi and said the deal NDA government had entered into with France on April 10, 2015 for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets was on “better” terms than the one agreed to by the UPA government in 2007.
Also, in an interview to news agency ANI, Jaitley had claimed that the the NDA government negotiated the deal at 20 per cent cheaper prices compared to that of the UPA in 2007.