Gandhi accuses government of lies in Rafale deal

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New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) Seeking to counter the BJP attack, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the government of telling “lies” and raised questions over the statement that a parliamentary committee had examined the pricing details of the Rafale deal and asserted that there was no such meeting.

Addressing a press conference after a battery of BJP leaders demanded his apology for his campaign against the government on the issue, he maintained an aggressive posture attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and persisted with demand for a JPC which, he said, will expose the “lies”.

Citing the Supreme Court judgement that referred to a parliamentary committee having examined the price details of the fighter jet, he said no such meeting was held.

“Today Supreme Court gave a judgement and I want to read three lines from it. ‘The pricing details have, however, been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).’ This is the foundation of the judgment,” Gandhi said.

Party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the PAC Chairman who was at the press conference, said no such report came before the panel and the CAG was also not aware of it.

“I asked the Deputy CAG today how it happened. Did someone forge my signatures? If the report is not with CAG, it cannot be with PAC. PAC presents its report to Parliament which I have not done. And it comes into public domain through Parliament,. How did it come, who gave it? The rules say that till the report is presented in Parliament, no one can speak on it,” Kharge said.

“How did it happen. It is really surprising. PAC has been dragged into it,” he added.

Gandhi said questions were rising after the Supreme Court judgment, which was the basic foundation of the BJP’s argument.

“The report was not seen in the PAC, but it was seen by the Supreme Court. I cannot understand this. Because when you say a lie, then it comes out somewhere.

“Now the government should tell us where is this CAG report. Show it to us and to the PAC chairman. Or probably there is some other PAC in some other Parliament. I don’t know. This is possible in the 21st century that Modiji has his own PAC in the PMO.

“Institutions have been destroyed. I don’t know what is happening,” Gandhi said.

The Congress chief insisted that there had been “a theft” of Rs 30,000 crore of public money.

He claimed that no one will buy the BJP’s arguments because “whole of India understands that the chowkidar is a thief”.

“Hide as much as you want and run as much as you want, you cannot escape,” he said.

Gandhi said the day a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe was held into the Rafale deal, it will name Narendra Modi.

Gandhi also said that the government had not answered questions raised by the party earlier on “corruption” in Rafale.

Gandhi alleged that the fighters were purchased at three times the cost negotiated by the UPA government, the contract was snatched from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and given to a private entity. Jobs had been taken away from India in the deal, he said.

Gandhi addressed a press conference hours after the government accused him of spreading lies in the wake of Supreme Court judgment which on Thursday dismissed four petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the purchase of Rafale jet fighters.

–IANS

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