New Delhi, Aug 29 (PTI, IANS): Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today accused Congress of "peddling untruth" on the Rafale aircraft deal, saying the "false campaign" by the Opposition party and its leader Rahul Gandhi was seriously compromising national security.
In a Facebook blog, he posed 15 questions to Gandhi and said the deal NDA government had entered into with France on April 10, 2015 for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets was on "better" terms than the one agreed to by the UPA government in 2007.
"Congress party's false campaign launched on Rafale aircraft deal based on peddled untruth has been casting a cloud on the inter-governmental agreement & seriously compromising national security," he said.
Stating that the Rafale controversy was based on "complete falsehood", he said it was expected from national political parties and their responsible leaders to keep themselves informed of the basic facts before they enter a public discourse on defence transactions.
Jaitley said Congress and Gandhi were guilty on three counts - delaying the deal by over a decade comprising national security, speaking of falsehood on pricing and procedure, and further delaying the defence procurement by raising these issues.
"Needless to say that I am constrained by the secrecy clause which exists in the contract and whatever I ask or respond to would be constrained by that limitation," he said.
He said the Congress had launched a "false campaign" that the Modi government had paid a higher price for the fighter jets, an industrialist had been favoured and the interests of the public sector were compromised.
"Every fact that Gandhi and the Congress has spoken on pricing and procedure are completely false," he said.
"I am asking the following questions as his misadventure is impairing national interest and I hope Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party would respond immediately," he wrote.
"The UPA was a government which suffered from a decision-making paralysis. Do you agree that the delay of over one decade was only on account of the incompetence and indecisiveness of the UPA Government?
"Did this delay seriously compromise national security? Is not the medium multi-role combat aircraft required by our forces to identify and strike at targets particularly when two of our neighbours have already enhanced their strength in this area?
"Was this delay and eventual abatement of the purchase by the UPA based on collateral considerations as had been witnessed in earlier transactions such as the purchase of the 155 mm Bofors gun?" Jaitley questioned.
The Minister said the Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi were unaware of the Rafale deal facts.
"How is it that Gandhi quoted a price of Rs 700 crore per aircraft in Delhi and Karnataka in April and May? In Parliament, he reduced it to Rs 520 crore per aircraft, in Raipur he increased it to Rs 540 crore, in Jaipur he used Rs 520 crore and Rs 540 crore in the same speech," he said.
"Truth has only one version, falsehood has many. Are these allegations being made without any familiarity with the facts of the Rafale purchase?" he asked.