Congress President Rahul Gandhi stepped up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale jet deal in the poll-bound state of Chhattisgarh. He also challenged PM Modi to participate in a debate over the details of the Rafale fighter jets signed with the French government.
Speaking to media in Chhattisgarh's Ambikapur, the Congress scion claimed that the Prime Minister will not be in a position to answer his questions over the alleged scams in the deal.
" I challenge Modi ji to come on stage anywhere, anytime and debate over Rafale with me for just 15 minutes. I will talk about Anil Ambani, HAL, former French President Francois Hollande's statements and the pricing of the jets. I will say that the Defence Minister said clearly that it's the Prime Minister who did it. The Prime Minister did not follow any procedure. He will not be able to answer my questions", he said.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.
The Congress has been alleging massive irregularities in the deal, saying the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government when it was negotiating the deal.
Earlier on November 12, in its report to the Supreme Court, the government made the pricing details of the deal public and said that all the defence procurement process has been thoroughly followed in the agreement.
The document also dismissed repeated allegations by Congress President Rahul Gandhi that Prime Minister Narendra Modi forced the French company Dassault Aviation to select a Reliance group firm of Anil Ambani as an offset partner to help it "pocket" Rs 30,000 crore. It also said that the pricing details for the 36 Rafale jets were negotiated on better terms than the previous deal.