New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday kept up its attack on the Rafale deal, alleging that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was trying to cover up a “scandal with scandal” and asked why the government was “scared” for a JPC probe.
Party President Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jailtey in a tweet while Congress Spokesperson Manish Tewari posed queries on the deal at the party’s regular briefing here.
The opposition party’s attack came hours after Jaitley, in a blogpost, termed the Congress charges on the Rafale deal “complete falsehood.”
Hitting back, Gandhi said that the government should then accept a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe.
“Mr Jaitley, thanks for bringing the nation’s attention back to the Great Rafale Robbery! How about a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to sort it out?” Problem is, your supreme leader is protecting his friend. So this may be inconvenient. Do check and revert in 24 hours. We’re waiting!” Gandhi said.
Jaitley too had asked Gandhi and his party to “respond immediately” to the questions raised by him.
Tewari said that a joint statement by India and France completely demolished the “very feeble defence” sought to be put by the Minister.
“In Modi government, collective responsibility is that no Minister has the responsibility of his own Ministry. This is the most peculiar form of government functioning we have seen. The timing of the Finance Minister’s defence of Rafale when the RBI is releasing data on demonetisation. It will not be a remiss to say that the Minister is trying to cover one scandal with another scandal,” Tewari said.
He said the party has been consistently demanding a JPC probe into the Rafale deal.
“If the government has nothing to hide, if the Finance Minister or the Prime Minister feel that everything is above board, why are they scared of facing a JPC? A JPC should be constituted and all questions which the Finance Minister raised, which primarily were a smokescreen to obfuscate the issue, will be absolutely blown out of water,” Tewari said.
The Congress leader also demanded that the government state the final price at which the negotiations on the fighter jet deal with France were left in 2012 under the then UPA dispensation.
“Why is the government — if it has all facts, if it is transparent — shying away from placing the figures before the country?” he asked.