MATHURA: Uttar Pradesh Power Minister Shrikant Sharma Sunday asked the Congress to explain why the UPA government had not finalised the Rafale deal even after starting the process to procure the fighter jets.
"(Congress president) Rahul Gandhi should explain, why the Congress could not finalise the deal in over seven years, even though it started the process in 2007," he told reporters here.
The BJP leader also asked if the Congress was waiting for some Ottavio Quattrocchi to come and finalise the deal.
Quattrocchi was the key accused in Bofors scam.
The Congress chief is unnecessarily raising the Rafale issue, he said.
"It also seems Rahul himself is not sure about the cost of the Rafale fighter aircraft as there is a variation in the cost of the fighter jets mentioned by him from time to time," the UP minister said.
Quoting Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, he said Gandhi claimed a price of Rs 700 crore per aircraft in Delhi and Karnataka in April and May, and in Parliament, he reduced it to Rs 520 crore per jet.
In Raipur, the Congress chief said the price as Rs 520 crore and Rs 540 crore per aircraft in the same speech, Sharma claimed.
To a question, he said, on moral grounds, Gandhi should answer the questions raised by the Union finance minister.
He also asked why the Congress chief was insisting that the government disclose the price of Rafale jets.
"The price is not being quoted as by revealing it, the enemy would not only locate the nature of fighter aircraft, but would prepare accordingly," the minister said.
On former French President Francois Hollande's statements, he said a clarification from the third party is not required, when it has come directly from Dassault Aviation.
Hollande was quoted in a French media report as saying that the Indian government proposed Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.
The French government, however, Friday said it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the deal.
In a comment later to a news agency, Hollande seemed to backtrack on his earlier remarks.
Dassault Aviation said the decision to partner with Reliance Defence Ltd (RDL) to fulfill offset obligations of the deal was its own.