Government rejects Congress demand in Lok Sabha for JPC probe into Rafale deal

The Finance Minister noted that the price of 'bare aircraft' has been revealed and that the price of 'weaponised' version cannot be told as it would help India's adversaries.

Published: 02nd January 2019 05:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd January 2019 05:54 PM   |  A+A-

Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks in the Lok Sabha during the discussion on the issues related to Rafale deal at Parliament in New Delhi Wednesday. (Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday rejected a demand in the Lok Sabha for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the alleged scam in Rafale jet deal.

Hitting back at the Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who alleged a scam in the fighter jet deal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said as the Supreme Court has already satisfied its "conscience" on the issue, there was no need for a JPC.

His speech was disrupted by continuous protests from the Congress Members, some of whom were seen throwing paper planes, drawing the Speaker's admonition.

"Are you still kids", an angry Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said.

Jaitley said perhaps the Congress members were throwing paper planes in the memory of Euro Fighter, which was also in the race along with Rafale.

Jaitley said the Congress felt that since "its hands are already soaked in corruption", it decided to "manufacture" a lie to defame the Modi government which has a clean record.

"Remember the JPC on Bofors it said the kickback were winding up charges it whitewashed corruption," Jaitley said.

He also claimed that the JPC is a partisan body which cannot investigate fairly.

He said there was no point in accepting demand for a JPC by a party which is already embroiled in Bofors corruption case.

The Finance Minister noted that the price of 'bare aircraft' has been revealed and that the price of 'weaponised' version cannot be told as it would help India's adversaries.

He also asserted that the bare aircraft was nine per cent cheaper than the one negotiated by the UPA and the weaponised version was 20 per cent cheaper.

Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said "it is a tragedy that the grand old party which was headed by the legends in the past is now headed by a gentleman who doesn't have basic understanding of combat aircraft."

Targeting the Congress, he also said that "conspirators" of past defence scams are now raising fingers at the Narendra Modi government and quoted the Supreme Court judgement to say that all charges have been negated.

"There are some people who have a natural dislike for truth. Every word spoken for the last six months on this subject, including in this House (by them) are false. He has a legacy of speaking falsehood," Jaitley said.

He said Gandhi has a "natural dislike for truth" and had earlier "manufactured" his conversation with former French President, which was denied by the French government.

"We are all utterly disappointed because every word he has said has been denied by the Supreme Court.

When the Supreme Court speaks on an issue, it is the last word," the finance minister said.

He asserted that nobody here can be entitled enough to challenge the Supreme Court's verdict.

Targeting the Gandhi family, he said some people and families understand arithmatic of money but cannot comprehend issues of national security.

The finance minister also raised AgustaWestland, National Herald cases and made a veiled reference to Ottavio Quattrocchi to attack Congress leadership.

Jaitley, who briefly held the Defence portfolio, said tender for buying aircraft was floated in 2007 during UPA regime and Dassault manufacturer of the Rafale aircraft was found the L1 (lowest bidder).

"In 2012 it went to the table of the then Defence Minister, who everyone knows is a simple man who wrote that Rafale is appropriate but the process through which it has become lowest bidder need to be looked into," Jaitley said suggesting that the then defence minister did this under the influence of his party.

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