The BJP on Friday ruled out creating a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the Rafale deal in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict dismissing a bunch of petitions seeking investigation into the purchase.
“After the Supreme Court verdict, it is absolutely conclusive. I don't think there's any scope left for a doubt or a discussion on anything for a political body which splits on partisan basis. Deals like Rafale can't be reviewed in a body of partisan divisions, it can only be done in a court of law.” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in New Delhi at a press conference within hours of the apex court verdict.
Asked what is the BJP's answer to the Congress president Rahul Gandhi's demand to create a JPC, Jaitley said, “Those who are deaf will never hear our answer.”
In a separate briefing BJP president Amit Shah described the court order as a “victory of truth” and demanded an apology from Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
“The SC decision is slap on the face of those who had alleged corruption,” he said.
“The judgement is a slap on such a politics of lies,” Shah said.
Describing the corruption-in-the-Rafale-deal campaign as falsehood propagated by a family, Jaitley said, “Falsehood is bound to fall apart. Falsehood has a short life. Falsehood always lowers the credibility of the creator.”
“Allegations on Rafale deal were fiction writing compromising national security. People with conflict of interest were commenting on the issue. Everything what was stated and written were untruth,” said Jaitley, who also served as the defence minister.
All the figures cited by the government were correct and all the figures given by Rahul Gandhi were wrong.
“The basic aircraft was 9% cheaper than what was being negotiated in the UPA era. A weaponised version was 20% cheaper as per 2016 pricing,” he asserted.
Jaitley cited the example of the first JPC on the Bofors scandal, chaired by Congress politician from Karnataka, B Shankaranand.
“That JPC was split on partisan ground. It said these are winding up charges. Subsequent history proved every word of that JPC to be false. In defence matters where a judicial review has already taken place, there is hardly any scope for a body which splits on political lines and manufacture theories. Its not a matter of importance and relevant to us,” Jaitley said.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made it clear that the NDA government would not buy another 36 Rafale from France.
Instead, 111 fighter aircraft would be manufactured in India under the Strategic Partnership programme for which a Request for Information was issued.
The two ministers denied any possibility of the Rafale controversy casting any shadow on other military projects involving the private sector.