A day later, Mr Gandhi pulled out three instances where the Congress government had informed parliament about pricing of its big ticket purchases including the Sukhoi and Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft.
"You said the UPA never released prices of defence purchases. To nail your lie, here are 3 parliamentary replies by the UPA with full transparency on pricing," the Congress president tweeted, signalling that his party would not back down from the campaign to demand that the government come clean on the Rs 58,000 crore deal.
"Now do ask our Raksha Mantri to tell India how much each RAFALE jet cost," Mr Gandhi said. The Congress has interpreted the government's reluctance to put out the figures as an indicator that there was "something fishy.
Dear Mr Jaitlie,
You said the UPA never released prices of Defence purchases?
To nail your lie, here are 3 Parliamentary replies by the UPA with full transparency on pricing.Now do ask our Raksha Mantri to tell India how much each RAFALE jet cost.#DealMeinKuchKalaHaipic.twitter.com/txb2Cc1BHh- Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) February 9, 2018
According to the party, India is paying more for the jets to France's Dassault than the deal negotiated by the previous Congress-led UPA government for multi-role aircraft.
Mr Gandhi's tweet on Friday was addressed to "Dear Jaitlie". This is the second time that he has misspelt the Finance Minister's name. The first was in December. A BJP lawmaker had then rushed to the Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, complaining that the Congress leader had "deliberately twisted" Mr Jaitley's name to ridicule him.
Mr Jaitley was backing her up on this when he told the Lok Sabha that when the UPA was in power, then defence ministers Pranab Mukherjee and A K Antony had on 15 occasions told parliament that giving out such details would be against the interest of national security. He also advised Mr Gandhi to "learn" from former Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee "lessons on national security".
Mr Gandhi had earlier on Friday also asked for a discussion in parliament under a rule that makes it a must for the government to answer.
"Rahul Gandhi wants the government's clarification and he also wants to place some facts before the House. There has been some irregularity in the Rafale deal and the government is hiding behind the confidentiality clause to avoid answers," said Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha.
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