- Price of each Rafale aircraft increased by over 41%, a report claimed
- Arun Jaitley called it the "fudged arithmetic of a compulsive contrarion"
- Defence Ministry has also issued a statement on the report
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday dismissed an investigative piece by The Hindu newspaper that claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to buy 36 fighter jets instead of 126 raised the price of each aircraft by over 41 per cent, and said the report is based on "fudged arithmetic".
In a series of late night tweets from the US, where he has gone for medical treatment, the Finance Minister said the pricing has been examined by the Supreme Court and is currently being scrutinized by the government's auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General or CAG.
"The new article on Rafale is based on fudged arithmetic - ignore the escalation of the 2007 non-deal offer and compare it with the 2016 price and invent a scam," Mr Jaitley tweeted.
"The fudged arithmetic of a compulsive contrarian can hardly be objective... Fudged arithmetics does not add to the credibility of its creator," he added.
Mr Jaitley said the 2007 escalation offer was much larger than 2016 agreed escalation for the Rafale jet deal. "The price differential would widen with each subsequent supply," Mr Jaitley tweeted.
The Defence Ministry too issued a rejoinder to 'The Hindu' report, and said the story has inaccurate facts which are devoid of any new arguments.
"All issues have been answered in detail by the Defence Minister in an open debate in parliament", the Defence Spokesperson said in a tweet.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, quoting The Hindu report, had earlier on Friday said the Rafale jet deal negotiated by the BJP-led government in 2015 was a windfall for French aircraft-maker Dassault.
Mr Chidambaram alleged that the government paid Euro 25 million more per aircraft compared to the price negotiated by the Congress-led UPA. This means India would pay Rs.186 crore more per aircraft, at the 2016 exchange rate, he said.
"This is my calculation depending on new facts. It seems Dassault is laughing all the way to the bank. The government has wronged the country in two ways. First, it has compromised national security by denying the Air Force 90 aircraft they desperately need. Second, it has purchased two squadrons that will cost euro 25 million more per aircraft. At the 2016 exchange rate, Euro 25 million is equal to Rs. 186 crore," he said.
Union Minister Smriti Irani, in a sharp rebuttal to Mr Chidambaram, said: "When the Supreme Court has spoken, the Defence Minister spoke for an hour and a half, the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) has all the files, they are repeatedly making malicious attempts to play politics. Congress has been exposed. Today, the person making false statements is himself on bail."
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.