Exposing the lies spoken by Rahul Gandhi on the Rafale deal between India and France, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a press conference on Saturday, wherein he put out one fact after another to dismiss the claims made by the Congress President.
The Law minister begun his speech on a fiery note, targeting the Congress supremo for calling PM Modi as 'chor'. But in time, he shifted his attention to the main issue - Rafale deal, which was followed by the facts on Reliance-Dassault MoU.
Ravi Shankar Prasad started off by attacking Rahul for his comments on PM Modi. He said, "I am here to reply to Rahul Gandhi. No party President in the past has ever used such words for PM. We cannot expect anything else from Rahul Gandhi. He has no quality or ability, but is sitting there because of his family.
"He is that person who is charge-sheeted in the National Herald case along with his mother, so nothing more can be expected of him. Nothing more can be expected of a person who keeps quiet when his brother-in-law (Robert Vadra) steals a land through government's help. Nothing more can be expected of a person whose family took bribes in the BOFORS scam.
"The comments by Rahul Gandhi on PM Modi are shameful and irresponsible. Neither the country the country or the world believes your words. You have only put black paint on your face through these statements. His family has been involved in 2g scam, Coal gate scam, Aadarsh scam, and CM's of his party have had to resign. Today. under PM Modi, the corruption is no longer there, the doors have closed for brokers and middlemen, and it hurts them."
Coming to the important issue, the Union minister put forward number of facts relating to Rafale in front of Rahul Gandhi. Following is the timeline of the events in the Rafale deal, according to Ravi Shankar Prasad:
June 1, 2001: Principal approval for replacement of 126 aircrafts under the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was spoken about.
August 28, 2007: Request for proposal issued by NDA 1, and two companies - Dassault aviation and EADS - came up with the offer
January 12, 2012: UPA found dassault to be the Lowest bidder and declared it as L1
June 27, 2012: UPA calls for a re-examination of the deal
On the final matter, ie the re-examination of the deal, Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the Congress party of conducting it because they didn't get bribes. "UPA came to power in 2004, and after eight years, a contract was given. But six months later, on June 27, 2012, they called for re-examination of the deal. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi, why did you call for re-examination? We allege that it was asked to re- examine because they didn't get bribes."
Rahul Gandhi and Congress' attack on BJP has been majorly focussed on Reliance getting the Rafale deal. They have regularly claimed that Anil Ambani's company were given the agreement due to insistence of PM Modi and BJP.
On Friday, former France President Francois Hollande had said that the Indian government had chosen Anil Ambani's Reliance as the interlocutor for Rafale. It gave opposition parties further ammunition to attack the NDA government over this issue.
But clearing air on this topic, Ravi Shankar Prasad put forward certain points, which clearly indicated that Reliance had signed an agreement with Dassault much before BJP came to power.
"In 2012, a negotiation and MoU took place with Reliance, and it came out in papers. A couple of years before we came to power, Reliance and Dassault had signed a pact. It was under Rahul Gandhi that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was finalised. Whatever happened between the Ambanis (Mukesh and Anil), we aren't concerned by it. There is contemporaneous evidence available that a proper MoU existed between Reliance and Dassault as early as on February 13, 2013," he added.
Another important topic of debate has been the price of Rafale aircrafts. The Congress has regularly claimed that the cost of the jets were low under UPA, but under the NDA, it had increased.
But the Law minister refuted all such claims. Without divulging much into the details, he made it clear that prices of the jets under PM Modi's government were much less than what it was under Manmohan Singh's government.
"Regarding the price, the plane which need must have weapons, missiles and will be used for fights. Keeping in mind the confidentiality clause, we won't reveal everything. But Arun Jaitley has already informed, the main aircraft is 9% cheaper than the UPA aircraft, and the aircraft with weapon is 20% cheaper than their deal," he mentioned.
As to why only 36 planes have been ordered, when the requirement is higher, the Union minister said, "We only ordered for 36 planes, because the rest will be made in India. Because the IAF needs planes urgently, we ordered 36 immediately."