Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while speaking at the first Republic TV Summit on 'Surging India' in Mumbai on Tuesday addressed questions on the controversies over the Rafale fighter jets deal. On being questioned by Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on whether his recent attacks on the Congress party, in the light of the Supreme Court's verdict on the Rafale deal, had 2019 agenda in his mind, here's what the Union Minister said,
"An election can get influenced by several factors. Our primary concern wasn't date of verdicts. The country must know the truth and fairness in the system. You had a government (UPA) which had policy paralysis as a functional brand. They approve a deal, and then nothing happens. In Rafale, let's consider why Air Force wanted combat aircraft. It all began with the Kargil war. The proposal came in 2001, NDA approved in 2003. Aircraft is normal, it is the weaponry which fixes it. The first presentation made to me by IAF when I was the Defence Minister, was that we need a combat aircraft. In 2014, we cleared we needed weaponized aircraft. In 2015, we agreed we'll buy the aircraft with weaponry with terms and conditions better than the ones which were earlier. However, then there were protests."
Later, while speaking on the Supreme Court's verdict on the Rafale deal, he said:
"The simple aircraft agreed in 2016 is 9% cheaper than before, and weaponized ones are 20% cheaper. Suddenly, you had a juvenile campaign comparing simple aircraft and weaponized aircraft. Some people buy their own propaganda. The court has said every procedure was followed. We gave them prices on a secret cover. When you have detailed judgment, some ambiguity can arrive from somewhere, and you go back to court next day and make the change. The ambiguity is the detail goes to the CAG and then goes to the PAC. Right now, it is being looked over by CAG. The critics of this transaction chose their forum and they got thrashing of their lifetime. Now they can't go shopping on some other forum."