The Rafale fighter jet deal continues to be in the middle of a political slugfest for the last few months. With the Centre and the Opposition Congress engaged in a blame game, the Lok Sabha on Wednesday witnessed yet another disrupted session, leading to two consecutive adjournments. As Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, posing a series of allegations, Union Minister Arun Jaitley too ripped into the Congress president, daring him to authenticate his documents. Meanwhile, in a bid to show their disagreement to Jaitley's speech, several Congress MPs have been seen throwing paper planes at the union minister, on which a warning was issued by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in Lok Sabha.
Citing a purported audiotape of a Goa minister on the Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi sought a JPC probe into the matter. Jaitley, on the other hand, accused Gandhi of having a "legacy of lying" and "repeating falsehood" and alleged that "conspirators" of past defence scams are now raising fingers at others. The Congress chief was disallowed from playing the purported audio tape by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan after Jaitley objected to the same unless Gandhi authenticated it and faced expulsion in case it is found to be false and fabricated.
“Why did you give this contract to your dear friend Mr AA and cost the exchequer Rs 30,000 crore... “It is very clear that the prime minister does not have the guts to come to Parliament and confront questions. The defence minister hides behind AIADMK members, the prime minister hides in his room,” Gandhi alleged in the Lok Sabha.
Watch Video where Congress MPs have been seen throwing paper planes towards Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while he was speaking during Rafale deal debate in Lok Sabha:
Jaitley countered those allegations, saying that “conspirators” of past defence scams are now raising fingers at the Narendra Modi government and quoted the Supreme Court judgement to say that all charges have been negated.
“There are some people who have a natural dislike for truth. Every word spoken for the last six months on this subject, including in this House (by them) are false...He has a legacy of speaking falsehood,” the union minister added. He said Gandhi has a “natural dislike for truth” and had earlier “manufactured” his conversation with the former French President, which was denied by the French government.
“We are all utterly disappointed because every word he has said has been denied by the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court speaks on an issue, it is the last word,” the finance minister said.
Earlier Gandhi demanded a JPC probe into the matter, adding that "The PM should come to the House and give answers...the entire country is pointing out at you Mr Modi".
In an apparent reference to the Gandhi family, Jaitley said some people and their families understand the arithmetic of money but cannot comprehend issues of national security. The finance minister also raised the AgustaWestland and the National Herald cases and made a veiled reference to Ottavio Quattrocchi to attack the Congress leadership.
Gandhi earlier rejected Prime Minister Modi’s claim in an interview that there was no personal allegation against him on Rafale, saying this is not true as the entire nation is asking him a direct question. “He (Modi) spoke for 90 minutes in a staged interview but still did not answer questions on the Rafale issue,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi posed several questions to Modi on Rafale and asked if it was not true that defence ministry officials objected to the new price of Rs 1600 crore against Rs 526 crore earlier. He also accused Modi of favouring his “dear friend” and what he called “failed businessman” Anil Ambani.