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Rahul Gandhi has 'Rafale phobia', says Ravi Shankar Prasad

Press Trust of India  |  Hyderabad 

The BJP Sunday took a swipe at for his remarks against the on the deal, accusing him of playing with the country's security in the most "irresponsible manner".

Dismissing Gandhi's allegations, said he was "lying shamelessly" on the fighter jet deal and has got "phobia".

"has ..The kind of language he is using against the does not behove him," Prasad told reporters here.

Citing cases of alleged corruption involving members of the Gandhi family, Prasad said, "How many corruption charges were levelled against his father (Rajiv Gandhi) in the Bofors case?...What has been the corruption record of (former prime minister), his grandmother? We have never used the kind of language he has used against "

The for Law, Electronics and charged the then Congress-led with not finalising the Rafale deal, alleging it again went for review because the party never inked any agreement unless it received "commission" (kickbacks).

"As they did not get commission, therefore they kept it (deal) pending," Prasad said.

After coming to power in 2014, Modi decided to go ahead with the Rafale deal as IAF needed fighter aircraft.

Reiterating the NDA government's claim that the basic price of Rafale negotiated by it was cheaper than what the UPA had agreed to, the said, "Modi government's price is 9 per cent cheaper than UPA's and with all weapons loaded, it is 20 per cent less."

The previous was negotiating with for procurement of 126 Rafale jets under which 18 jets were to supplied in a fly-away condition and 108 were to be manufactured in by the French company along with HAL. However, the UPA could not seal the deal.

"The had examined it thoroughly and found there is no commercial interest...," Prasad said, adding the Centre had no role in picking the offset

"please don't play with the security of .. What he says in is picked up by the Pakistani press the next day."

"Rahul Gandhi in the most irresponsible manner is playing with the security of India," Prasad added.

Prime Minister had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after holding talks with then French on April 10, 2015 in

Opposition has accused the government of choosing over state-run (HAL) as offset to benefit the private firm though it did not have any experience in the

Hollande's reported comments that had proposed as the Indian for the contract has escalated into a major political row, even as the said it had no say in the choice of the Indian industrial partner for the multi-billion dollar deal.

However, refuted Hollande's claims and said that it was their decision to partner with Reliance.

In December last year, the had given the government a clean chit on the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from and dismissed all the petitions seeking a direction to the CBI to register an FIR for alleged irregularities in the deal.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 10 2019. 18:15 IST