It's time PM Modi, Arun Jaitley 'stop lying' on Rafale and agree on JPC probe: Rahul Gandhi

Nothing less than a JPC probe into Rafale deal is acceptable to Congress-led Opposition.

It's time PM Modi, Arun Jaitley 'stop lying' on Rafale and agree on JPC probe: Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI: In a no mood to spare the BJP regime at the Centre, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the Rafale jet deal, saying it's time the two stop lying on the issue and call for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the controversial defence deal.  

The Congress chief took to Twitter and asked the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister to "stop lying" on the issue and call for a JPC probe for an "uncorrupted truth" to come out.

The Gandhi scion also accused FM Jaitley of having the ability to spin "2 truths or lies" with "fake self-righteousness" and "indignation to defend the indefensible". 

"Mr Jetlie's speciality is his ability to spin '2 truths', or lies, with fake self-righteousness and indignation to defend the indefensible. It's high time he, the RM and our PM stop lying and call a JPC to establish the full, uncorrupted truth about the Rafale Scam (sic)," Rahul Gandhi said in his tweet.

Along with his tweet, the Congress chief also tagged a media report highlighting how former French president Francois Hollande's charges have hit the Narendra Modi government on the Rafale issue.

Joining the Government -Opposition war over the Rafale fighter jet deal, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav too demanded on Sunday a JPC probe into the controversial defence deal between India and France.  

Speaking to news agency ANI, the SP said that without a JPC the truth will not come out as the issue has now become global.

''We demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe on Rafale deal. Without a JPC, the truth will not come out, the issue has now become global,'' Akhilesh said.

Adding a fresh twist to the Rafale controversy, former French president Hollande last week claimed that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence's name as the offset partner for Dassault Aviation.

In response, the French Government said that it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the Rafale deal, asserting that French firms have the full freedom to select Indian companies for the contract.

While ruling out scrapping the deal, FM Jaitley defended the Prime Minister on the Rafale issue, saying the French government and Dassault Aviation have categorically denied the correctness of the former president's first statement.
He said the French government has stated that the decision with regard to the offset contracts of Dassault Aviation are taken by the company and not the government.

Jaitley, in a television interview, said there appears to be some 'jugalbandi' (connection) between the statements of Hollande and Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

"I am surprised? On August 30, he (Gandhi) tweeted that bombs are going to explode in France (over Rafale deal). How he came to know about that?,'' Jaitley asked.

"Though I do not have any proof of this jugalbandi, but this creates suspicion in mind? There is definitely something ... A statement comes (from Hollande), then it is contradicted. But he (Gandhi) predicted this to happen 20 days in advance," he said.

Jaitley added that there is no question of scrapping the Rafale jet fighter deal as it is meant to meet the needs of the country's defence forces.

"Koi prashna nahi uthta. Ye fauz ki avashaktya hai. Ye desh mei ana chahiye, aur ye ayega. (No question of scrapping the deal. These (jet fighters) are needed by the defence forces. They should come and they will come)," he said when asked whether the government could cancel the deal in view of the forthcoming general elections in 2019.

Earlier in a Facebook post titled 'A Questionable Statement Which Circumstances & Facts Demolish', Jaitley wrote: "The former French President's first statement rhymes with Rahul Gandhi's prediction."

The Minister also accused the Congress party leaders of using vulgar language and said public discourse is not a "laughter challenge".

"I have said how public discourse should be. It is not a laughter challenge. You go and hug someone, then you wink, utter lies 4-6-10 times. Your words should reflect intellect. Vulgarity and abusive language does not suit the world's largest democracy,'' he added.

Jaitley said a controversy is sought to be created on the basis of a statement made by Hollande that the Reliance Defence 'partnership' with Dassault Aviation was due to the suggestion of the Indian government.

"He (Hollande) has, in a subsequent statement, said that he is 'not aware' if Government ever lobbied for Reliance Defence and that 'the partners chose themselves'. Truth cannot have two versions,'' Jaitley said.

Referring to Hollande's remarks, Jaitley said, "The French Government and M/s Dassault Aviation have categorically denied the correctness of the former President's first statement.''

''The French Government has stated that the decision with regard to the offset contracts of Dassault Aviation are taken by the company and not the Government. Dassault Aviation itself has suggested that they have entered into multiple contracts with several public sector and private sector companies with regard to the offset contracts and the decision is entirely theirs," he added.

As per the second statement of Hollande, Dassault and Reliance selected themselves as partners, the Minister said.

"This contradicts his first questionable statement which the French Government and Dassault have denied. The facts contradict the same. His second statement in Montreal, Canada to AFP (news agency) makes the veracity of his first statement even more questionable," he added.

On its part, the Reliance group has also rejected charges against it made by the Congress and said the government was in no way involved in securing its offset contract with Dassault Aviation.

Hollande was the French president when the Rs 58,000 crore deal for buying 36 Rafale jets was signed in 2016.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of 36 Rafale fighters after holding talks with then French president Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris.