Jaitley dismisses Rahul's charges on Rafale deal

Jaitley dismisses Rahul's charges on Rafale deal

Lok Sabha on Wednesday witnessed high drama after Congress president Rahul Gandhi sought permission to play a purported audiotape of a Goa minister on the Rafale deal but refused to authenticate it, prompting Union Minister Arun Jaitley to accuse him speaking "lies repeatedly".

In a no-holds-barred attack on the Congress, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the Rahul Gandhi and his family only understood the “arithmetic of money” not issues of national security even as he rejected the demand for a joint parliamentary probe in the Rafale deal.

In his nearly 45-minute intervention in the debate on the Rafale deal in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley was dismissive about Rahul and his understanding of matters relating to defence saying there were some people who had a natural dislike for truth.

Questioning the merits of Rahul's arguments, he said “even a kindergarten student has a better understanding than him.”

He also rejected the opposition demand for a JPC on Rafale contending that the Supreme Court had already satisfied its “conscience” on the issue.

Jaitley's speech was disrupted by continuous protests by the Congress members, some of whom were seen throwing paper planes, prompting Speaker to admonish them.

“It is a tragedy that the grand old party, which was once led by legends, is now headed by a gentleman who does not have a basic understanding of a combat aircraft,” Jaitley said seeking to dismiss Rahul's claims of sharp escalation in the price of the Rafale aircraft from Rs 526 crore during to UPA period to Rs 1,600 crore under the Modi government.

“There is a reason for that. Some people and families in India only understand the arithmetic of money... They don't understand national security but only 'paisa',” he said.

Without naming the Gandhi family, Jaitley asked why was it that one family's name came up in the Bofor's case, the AugustaWestland case and the National Herald case and

“Had it been one case, I would have given them the benefit of doubt. But three is a bit too much,” Jaitley said and quoted a dialogue penned by James Bond creator Ian Fleming.

“If it happens once, it's happenstance; if it happens twice, it's a coincidence; but if it happens thrice, then it's a conspiracy,” the senior BJP leader said.

Dismissing Rahul's allegations of irregularities in the Rafale deal, Jaitley hit out at the Congress President accusing him of taking “unprecedented liberties with truth” while levelling charges against the Modi government.

“He (Rahul) even manufactured a conversation between him and French President Emmanuel Macron. The French government has refuted all his claims,” Jaitley said.

Jaitley accused the Congress of manufacturing allegations against the Modi government as there were none against it.

“The Congress felt that since its hands are already soaked in corruption of Bofors, Agustawestland and National Herald and there are not allegations against the NDA, let us manufacture one,” Jaitley said.