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CAG report vindicates Modi govt’s stand on Rafale deal, says Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley has used the CAG report to target Rahul Gandhi, who has been hitting out at PM Modi over the 2016 defence contract.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2019 16:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Arun jaitley,CAG report on Rafale Deal,Rafale deal
Union minister Arun Jaitley launched a counter-attack on the Congress after CAG report on the Rafale deal was tabled in Parliamenta on Wednesday.(Photo: Twitter/@ANI)

Union minister Arun Jaitley has said that the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Rafale deal has vindicated the Narendra Modi government’s stand on the defence agreement. He targeted Congress president Rahul Gandhi accusing him of “manufacturing a lie every day” over Rafale deal.

“The CAG report has completely vindicated stand of NDA government. It has blasted the big lie which was being spearheaded by the Congress. The Congress president had manufactured a statistic 500 versus 1600, data which doesn’t exist anywhere. He repeated that lie ad nauseam,” said Jaitley in an interview to news agency ANI.

The Congress has alleged that the Rafale deal signed under the Modi government was costlier than the one being negotiated by the UPA regime. Gandhi has led the opposition’s attack on the Modi government in his bid to make it a major poll plank in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Jaitley also dismissed the Congress’s objection to the CAG report prepared under Rajiv Mehrishi saying, “No file related to the Rafale deal ever went to him when he was the finance secretary.” The Congress has maintained that Mehrishi was part of the team that took decision on finalising the cost of Rafale deal in 2015-16.

“On manufactured data, Gandhi repeated a lie…on many occasions,” said Jaitley adding that after the Supreme Court “saw” and “examined” the documents, the controversy should have come to an end.

The CAG report on Rafale deal was tabled in the Rajya Sabha earlier in the day. The CAG report concluded that the 2016 Rafale deal was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the 2007 offer made during the UPA rule.

With the Lok Sabha elections only months away, the Modi government has been under immense pressure in the view of attack by Gandhi over the Rafale deal. Refuting the charge of irregularities and wrong doing on the part of the government, Jaitley said, “People of the country have to punish those who have misled the country by manufacturing lies.”

He said, “The Supreme Court has satisfied itself, the CAG has satisfied itself, the government stands vindicated. The matter doesn’t finish here. The people have to punish those who misled the country.”

Also Read | CAG report finds Rafale fighter jet deal 2.9 per cent cheaper, sparks fly

Gandhi has slammed the Modi government over Rafale deal on three main counts. He has accused PM Modi of bypassing the defence ministry in negotiating the Rafale deal with France. He also accused him of corruption in Rafale deal alleging that PM Modi reworked the defence agreement in order to benefit newly floated Reliance Defence “to benefit his friend Anil Ambani”. On Tuesday, Gandhi alleged that PM Modi shared defence secrets with Ambani before the Rafale deal was signed.

Both the government and the Reliance Defence have dismissed the allegations leveled by Gandhi as baseless. The government has maintained that the Rafale deal that was being negotiated during the UPA rule was unfinished and unworkable. The new deal was signed, the government has said, keeping in the interests of the defence forces.

First Published: Feb 13, 2019 14:14 IST