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Another attempt to tarnish govt’s image, says Arun Jaitley on Rafale allegations

Two former BJP leaders Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, along with advocate Prashant Bhushan, said the government needed to explain how the deal with France was concluded.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2018 06:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Arun Jaitley,Rafale deal,India France defence deal
Union minister Arun Jaitley attends a news conference in New Delhi.(Reuters File Photo)

Union minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday there was not a grain of truth in the “wild allegation” against the government on the Rafale aircraft issue and it was “reprocessed lies” by forces increasingly desperate to prove their relevance. “It is even more reprehensible that this fresh attempt to tarnish the image of the Government should come less than two weeks after the miserable failure of a similar effort in the Parliament,” Jaitley said in a blog Wednesday night.

Earlier in the day, two former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, along with advocate Prashant Bhushan, said the government needed to explain how the deal with France was concluded, who took the decision to reduce the number of aircraft from 126 to 36, and why there is secrecy over the actual spending on the deal. Sinha demanded an audit of the deal by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the report in three months.

Jaitley said the government has already responded effectively to “each and every distortion and misinformation”. “Meanwhile, those raising alarm about the alleged danger to national security ought to realise their responsibility and refrain from politicising for narrow individual ends those very matters pertaining to defence of the nation that were consistently ignored by them and by those with whom they sympathise,” Jaitley said. He added there was nothing substantiating the purported facts and voluminous documents marshalled to corroborate the accusations.

Rajesh Dhingra, CEO of Reliance defence and aerospace denied the allegation - made by Shourie, Sinha and Bhushan - that Rs. 21,000 crore has been to the company by the government to Anil Ambani. “No contract has been given to any Reliance Group company by the Ministry of Defence related to the purchase of the 36 Rafale aircraft that are coming in a flyaway condition from France,” he said.

First Published: Aug 08, 2018 23:16 IST