Rahul reiterates corruption charge in Rafale purchase, questions PM's silence

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The Congress has intensified its attack on the Narendra Modi government for being "secretive" about the Rafale fighter jet deal.

In the wake of an escalating war of words between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress over the demand to disclose the details of Rafale fighter jet deal, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said that Rahul Gandhi should learn the "lessons on national security" from former defence minister Pranab Mukherjee.

His defence on the Rafale deal came after Congress president Rahul Gandhi had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not answering his questions on the deal because there was something "fishy" in it.

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He also quoted a number of written replies in Parliament by Ministers from the then UPA governments including Pranab Mukherjee and A.K. Antony, wherein they had refused to quote the price in defence deals citing security concerns.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan warned the TDP members against showing their back to the Chair.

In an earlier tweet in December past year, Gandhi had addressed the finance minister the same way.

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Jaitley said that the Centre had already made payments for creation of a new capital for Andhra Pradesh and also towards backward districts. He said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that she would share the details of the deal and would inform the nation about the cost of purchasing Rafale aircraft but later changed her stance.

"Isn't a full disclosure of price of Rafale aircraft in "national interest"?" "We are as much accountable to Parliament as UPA was during its regime", Jaitley added.

Speaking to reporters after an Opposition delegation met President Ram Nath Kovind over alleged foul play in judge BH Loya's death, Rahul after referring to the finance minister as 'Jaitlie, ' said, "Perhaps, I should use a spellcheck".

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Mr Gandhi had earlier said it was clear that the Prime Minister was not interested in answering fundamental questions. "Which of her two statements are correct", he asked. "We are very sympathetic to the people of Andhra Pradesh and would look into each one of these issues expeditiously", he said.

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