Rahul ‘inconsistent’ on prices on Rafale, says Jaitley: Poses 15 questions to Congress

Last Modified Wednesday, 29 August 2018 (14:28 IST)
New Delhi: Countering persistent attack on the government on Rafale aircraft deal, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday posed as many as 15 questions to the principal opposition party and wanted to know if ‘delay’ by the UPA regime on the matter did ‘seriously compromise national security’.
Mr Jaitley in a blog on Facebook said while party has been alleging about ‘escalated price’ as finalised by the NDA government, at the same time Congress president and others have been inconsistent about the price itself.
“How is it that Rahul Gandhi quoted a price of Rs 700 crore per aircraft in Delhi and Karnataka in April and May this year? In Parliament, he reduced it to Rs 520 crore per aircraft, in Raipur, he increased it to Rs 540 crore; in Jaipur he used the two figures – Rs 520 crore and Rs 540 crore in the same speech. In Hyderabad, he invented a new price of Rs 526 crores. Truth has only one version, falsehood has many,” Mr Jaitley wrote.
“Are these allegations being made without any familiarity with the facts of the Rafale purchase?,” he asked.
“I have, therefore, decided to ask the questions to the Congress Party and its President. Needless to say that if replies are received in the public space or even if there is an issue diversion and no reply is received, I would be constrained to come out with further specific facts,” he wrote.
Questions from Mr Jaitley also included whether ‘delay’ in the purchase of medium multi-role combat aircraft was due to “collateral considerations” as was witnessed during the purchase of Bofors gun.
“Was this delay and eventual abatement of the purchase by the UPA based on collateral considerations as had been witnessed in earlier transactions such as the purchase of the 155 mm Bofors gun”, asked Mr Jaitley, who also held the portfolio of Defence for sometime.
Mr Jaitley also asked - Can Rahul Gandhi deny that when the add-ons such as India-specific adaptations, weaponry, etc. are installed on the basic aircraft, the UPA price, which was mentioned in the 2007 L1 offer, would be at least 20 per cent costlier than the more favourable price negotiated by the NDA?
“Is he (Rahul Gandhi) aware of the fact that if the basic aircraft price on which UPA was to purchase the aircraft along with the escalation clause is compared at the price with the better terms on which the NDA Government signed the deal. The basic aircraft price itself is 9% cheaper under the NDA than it was under the UPA?”
Mr Jaitley pointed out that original proposal for procurement was made way back on June 1, 2001 but - for reasons best known to the UPA Government, on June 27, 2012, the deal was directed to be re-examined, “which effectively meant that the entire eleven-year exercise was abandoned and the process was to be undertaken afresh”.
“India’s squadron strength was depleting because of age. This slow and casual approach of the UPA Government seriously compromised national security requirements,” Mr Jaitley wrote. (UNI)