Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday backed up his "Rafale is the father of Bofors scandal" remark he had made earlier by contrasting the size of funds allegedly involved in the two contentious Defence deals.
Speaking to ANI, Mr Raut said, "There were Rs 5-10 crore involved in the Bofors scam or assume it to be Rs 100 crore, and at that time the turbulence went on for around 20-25 years. In the Rafale deal, some Rs 700-800 crore scandal has surfaced. I am not saying it (scam) has happened, it has only come forth. Hence, as per these figures Rafale is the father of Bofors."
There was doubt in people's mind since the deal pertained to India's security, he stressed while saying, "Defence deals are a matter of India's security. I won't say that Rahul Gandhi is asking repetitive questions; he is asking questions since he is the Congress president. It is the responsibility of Prime Minister Modi Ji, we trust him, to tell the nation the truth," Mr Raut said.
Accusing that people are labeled as anti-nationals whenever anyone questions the government or the Prime Minister, the Sena leader asserted that by that logic former French President Francois Hollande should also be branded anti-national.
"Asking questions is our right, this is a democracy. If there is a doubt in our minds, clear it," added Mr Raut.
His comments come in the wake of an article he wrote in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece - Saamna, where he claimed that the controversial Rafale deal is the father of Bofors.
In 2016 the BJP-led government signed a contract with France and Dassault Aviation worth around Rs 58,000 crore for 36 - ready to fly - Rafale jets, after scrapping the UPA government's deal to buy 18 ready to fly jets and assemble a further 108 in India.
The Congress-led Opposition has been attacking the central government over the alleged exorbitant cost per jet in the 2016 deal. Fuel was added to the fire when former French President Hollande said that the BJP had nominated Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as a partner in the deal.
Speaking on the Maharashtra Election Commission's statement that political parties that make false promises should be invalidated, Mr Raut said, "If that is the case then the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is the most deserving candidate, as all the promises they made in 2014, be it the Prime Minister or anyone. They said they will get PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) back, remove Article 370 from Kashmir, build the Ram Mandir, tackle inflation,etc."
He further said, "They made 101 promises like these. So if we consider all of this and the fact that the state's Election Commission has said that they will stop all of this and deny those parties validity, they should start with the BJP. It is the incumbent's responsibility to fulfill the promises they make, if the Election Commission has said something, implement it," Mr Raut said.