Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram Saturday took a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for saying that the NDA government got the Rafale aircraft deal at a cheaper price, questioning if it was so, why did it not buy seven squadrons instead of two.
In a series of tweets, P Chidambaram said Mr Jaitley has been maintaining that in the Rafale deal, negotiated by the NDA government, the price of the aircraft was cheaper by 9 per cent or 20 per cent.
"If so, why did the government buy only 36 aircraft and not 126 aircraft," he asked.
The former finance and home minister said the Indian Air Force has been maintaining that its fighter aircraft strength is depleted and it needs at least 7 squadrons (126 aircraft).
"Then, why did the government buy only 2 squadrons (36 aircraft)," he questioned.
Mr Chidambaram said the aircraft maker was willing to sell 126 aircraft and according to the finance minister the price is cheaper.
"Then, why buy only 36 aircraft? Will someone please solve this mystery?
"By buying only 36 aircraft when 126 aircraft are on offer, the government has gravely compromised national security," he said.
In a relief to the Modi government, the Supreme Court Friday dismissed the pleas challenging the deal between India and France for purchase of 36 Rafale jets, saying there was no reason to "really doubt the decision making process" warranting setting aside of the contract.
The top court rejected the pleas seeking lodging of an FIR and the court-monitored probe alleging irregularities in the Rs 58,000-crore deal, in which both the countries have entered into an inter-governmental agreement.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dealt with "three broad areas of concern" raised in the petitions - the decision-making process, pricing and the choice of Indian offset partners - and said there was no reason for intervention by the court on the "sensitive issue" of purchase of 36 jets.