New Delhi: In a veiled attack on former cabinet ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, who alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party- led government had agreed to buy Rafale jets at a higher price with no additional add-ons, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that his ‘NDA colleagues are career nationalists’ and speak the language which benefits them. In an exclusive interview to ANI, Jaitley hit out at his former party colleagues and said that the two would have sung a different tune had they still been a part of the NDA government. Alleging that the two former cabinet ministers have the habit of speaking contrarian language, Jaitley asserted that they don’t hold any credibility.
“They haven’t looked at the file. You see, those NDA colleagues, if they were in NDA, would be speaking a different language. Our tragedy in the NDA has been, partially in the BJP, we have a fair share of career nationalists. They are nationalists and with us as long as it suits their career. And therefore, when they speak a contrarian language, I don’t attach much credibility to them,” Jaitley told ANI. Further slamming both the leaders for their comment that the Bofors scam, which rattled the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s government, pales into insignificance when compared to Rafale scam, Jaitley said, “Somebody may be involved as a journalist, I was involved as a lawyer in the Bofors investigation, so I know more than what the files say.”
Former cabinet ministers in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Shourie and Sinha, along with Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government has purchased 36 Rafale jets with an extra price of Rs 1000 cr per aircraft, in comparison to the earlier deal formalised by the United Progressive Alliance government. While addressing a press conference in the national capital the three leaders alleged that the indigenous Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which was a part of the original contract was struck off from the deal to make way for a new company Reliance Defence Ltd.