Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday cited a purported “dissent note” by some officials who negotiated the Rafale deal to assert that it demolished Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim of better pricing and faster delivery of the jets, and dismissed the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report on the multi-billion pact as a “cover-up” that was “not worth the paper” it was written on.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) responded by demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi, as the CAG had said in its report that the National Democratic Alliance deal was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the United Progressive Alliance one.
At a press conference, the Congress chief said even though he did not agree with the CAG’s submission, it still called the bluff of Modi, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had told Parliament that the new deal was 9-20 per cent lower.
“The fact of the matter is that the new deal that… Modi signed gets India the aircraft later than the original deal,” Rahul Gandhi said.
Hitting back, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, said in view of the Supreme Court order and the CAG report, Rahul Gandhi should withdraw his allegations and tender an apology. “The BJP demands that Rahul apologise as the SC order and the CAG report on Rafale jet deal have exposed his lies,” he added.
Rahul Gandhi also renewed the demand for a joint parliamentary committee to probe the Rafale deal. “You say there was no scam, then why are you afraid of ordering a JPC?” he said.
Earlier in the day, raising slogans such as “chowkidar chor hai”, Congress lawmakers, including Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, protested near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex.