New Delhi: Upping the ante on the issue of the Rafale fighter jet deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why an aircraft costing around Rs 520 crore was bought at Rs 1,600 crore. The Congress president also demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe on the Rafale deal.
“Why did you buy an aircraft of Rs 520 crore at the cost of Rs 1,600 crore? Who were you (Modi) trying to benefit?” Gandhi asked at a press conference.
Gandhi also attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, saying he was blogging but not saying anything on a probe by a JPC.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of Youth Congress workers took to the streets to voice their protest against the deal they dubbed the “biggest scam”. Rafale is a French twin-engine multi-role fighter jet designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Rafale jets are considered one of the most potent combat jets globally.
India and France signed a deal worth Euro 7.87 billion (Rs 59,000 crore approximately) on September 23, 2016, for 36 Rafale jets. The delivery of the aircraft will start from September 2019. The deal was finalised on the basis of the procurement procedure followed under the UPA government.
The Congress has been accusing massive irregularities in the deal, alleging that the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against the Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government. The party has also demanded answers from the government on why state-run aerospace major HAL was not involved in the deal.