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Rafale deal: Rahul reiterates demand to disclose purchase price

DH News Service, New Delhi, Feb 9 2018, 21:21 IST
Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Stepping up his offensive on the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi hit out at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dubbing him as "Mr Jaitlie" once again to counter his claim that the UPA government never shared details of defence purchases.

Sticking to his demand of making the "purchase price" of Rafale aircraft public, Rahul citied at least three instances where the previous UPA government had shared details of defence purchases - the acquisition of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov from Russia, the purchase of Sukhoi fighter jets and the upgradation of the Mirage aircraft.

"Dear Mr 'Jaitlie', you said the UPA never released prices of defence purchases. To nail your lie, here are three Parliamentary replies by the UPA with full transparency on pricing. Now do ask our Raksha Mantri to tell India how much each RAFALE jet cost," Rahul said on Twitter.

The Congress president is already facing a breach of privilege notice for deliberately twisting Jaitley's surname to "Jaitlie" after the finance minister's clarification to the Rajya Sabha to end a deadlock over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's objectionable remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh on the Gujarat election trail.

The Congress also sidestepped Jaitley's argument that the Opposition was compromising national security by demanding details of the Rafale aircraft deal.

"We are not seeking details about the missile equipment, weapons systems or armament. We are only concerned about the loss to the national exchequer," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said here.

"Is it correct that according to international bids opened on December 12, 2012, the price per aircraft comes to $80.95 million (Rs 526.1 crore) as against the Modi government's per aircraft negotiated price of $241.66 million (Rs 1,570.8 crore) as per current exchange rates," Surjewala asked.

The Congress also wanted to know whether Qatar had purchased 12 Rafale fighter jets in November 2017 for $108.33 million per aircraft (Rs 694.80 crore), according to current exchange rates.

"If this is correct, why has the Modi government paid such an astronomically higher price for Rafale aircrafts," Surjewala asked.

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