- Mr Jaitley defended centre over ex-French president's comment on Rafale
- Said Hollande's follow-up statements don't add up, attacked Congress
- Rahul Gandhi says Finance Minister is "spinning lies", demands probe
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Sunday took on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's defence on the Rafale controversy, alleging that the BJP leader was "spinning lies" with "fake self-righteousness and indignation to defend the indefensible". He reiterated the Congress demand for a joint parliamentary committee or JPC probe into Rafale fighter jet deal.
Brushing off Congress attacks that cited former French President Francois Hollande's claim that the Indian government favoured industrialist Anil Amabni's Reliance Defence for the multi-million dollar contract, Mr Jaitley, in a blog post, said "truth cannot have two versions". Pointing to Mr Hollande's subsequent statements on the deal, Mr Jaitley asserted that neither the Indian nor the French government played any role in the selection of Reliance Defence as the local partner by Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation.
Mr Jetlie's speciality is his ability to spin "2 truths", or lies, with fake self righteousness & indignation to defend the indefensible. It's high time he, the RM & our PM stop lying and call a JPC to establish the full, uncorrupted truth about the #RafaleScam. pic.twitter.com/iQxrV5ooN5- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 23, 2018
Mr Jaitley's counter came amid a political firestorm triggered by Mr Hollande's statement to a French investigative website Mediapart on Friday that the Indian government had proposed Reliance Defence as the Indian partner of French defence giant Dassault, and that France "did not have a choice" in the matter.
"He has, in a subsequent statement, said that he is 'not aware' if Government ever lobbied for Reliance Defence and that 'the partners chose themselves'," Mr Jaitley wrote. This, he said, "contradicts his first questionable statement which the French Government and Dassault have denied."
The former French premier, when asked whether India had pressured Reliance and Dassault to work together, told news agency AFP that he was unaware and "only Dassault can comment on this".
"His second statement in Montreal, Canada to AFP makes the veracity of his first statement even more questionable," the Finance Minister said.
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