Union Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday hit out at Congress President Rahul Gandhi over his remark on the Rafale deal and pilots of the Indian Air Force. Responding to Mr Gandhi's comments that Rs. 30,000 crore could be given to families of Air Force pilots, Ms Irani said that his remarks indicate the mindset that death can be compensated with money.
"Rahul Gandhi says that if you (IAF pilots) die on duty, he would give money. Leave aside politics; if you look at it from a humanitarian angle, it indicates his mindset," Ms Irani said at an event in Delhi.
The opposition, led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, on Friday tried to bring the Rafale debate back in the forum by citing a newspaper report which suggested that the PMO had held parallel talks with the French government relating to pricing, something which was objected by the Ministry of Defence.
Citing the half-baked report, the Congress president remarked:
"I want to speak to every member of the armed forces of this nation... Here, it is absolutely clear that the prime minister has stolen Rs. 30,000 crore of your money, bypassed a process, and given it to his friend Mr Anil Ambani," Mr Gandhi said at a press conference over the Rafale matter, calling the deal as an "open and shut case".
"This 30,000 crore could have been used for your safety. This 30,000 crore could have been given to your family. This 30,000 crore could be given to you when you die in a plane crash," Mr Gandhi had added.
Republic TV accessed the full letter cited in the report written by the MoD in 2015, which exposed the half-truth shown by the newspaper and also exposes the lies of Rahul Gandhi. Citing the half-baked report, the Congress president had accused the Prime Minister and his office of interfering in the pricing of the Rafale deal, which was objected by the Ministry of Defence.
But the full letter has revealed that no such objection was raised by the MoD, and in fact, the only concern expressed was in relation to the PMO having talks with the French government regarding sovereign guarantee and general terms and conditions.
The second major detail which was cut out from the report of the newspaper was the response of the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. In the half-cut letter, Parrikar's response was not visible. But in the full report, then Defence Minister's reply to the concerns of the MoD official can be seen.
"It appears PMO and French President office are monitoring the progress of the issue which was an outcome of the summit meeting. Para 5 appears to be an over reaction. Defence Secretary (G Mohan) may resolve the matter in consultation with Principal Secretary to PM," read Parrikar's response in the full letter.