Continuing its attack on the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale deal, the Congress on Sunday asked the Centre why it inked a deal with France’s Dassault Aviation to buy just 36 aircraft when 126 fighter jets were required.
The party’s national spokesperson, Priyanka Chaturvedi, asked if there’s any urgency, why the government did not ask the French company to supply all the aircraft in one go.
“The first lot of the aircraft will be supplied in 2019 and the rest in 2022. If there is any urgency, the whole lot should have been supplied by 2019,” she said here Saturday.
Chaturvedi asked why the government is “afraid of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the deal, if it’s fair”.
“A total of 126 aircraft were required, but the NDA government signed a pact for only 36 aircraft. This is strange,” she said.
She alleged that the government “sacrificed the country’s interests to favour a millionaire friend”.
“How the cost per plane soared from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1,670 crore? The prime minister should explain why the government ignored a public sector undertaking with a 70-year-long clean record and gave the contract to a 12-day-old company which lacks experience,” she said.
The Congress leader said though the deal could not materialise during the UPA government’s tenure, but it ensured transparency in all matters related to it.
The fresh offensive by the Congress comes days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched an all-out attack on Congress, accusing the erstwhile UPA government of stalling the Rafale deal and consequently putting India’s national security at risk.
He also claimed that the fully weaponised fighter jets which his government is buying are 20 per cent cheaper than the ones offered under the previous UPA regime.
Jaitley termed the allegations by Rahul Gandhi as “factually false” and said that the Congress president gave seven different prices in different speeches with regard to the 2007 aircraft deal.
(With PTI inputs)