Government rejects Cong demand for JPC probe into Rafale

New Delhi The Central government on Wednesday rejected Congress demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into Rafale fighter deal, saying the Opposition party was “manufacturing” and “inventing” corruption in a clean deal.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that there was nothing left to look into after the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction over all aspects related to the deal.

“The Supreme Court has satisfied its conscience but Congress’ electoral requirement has not been met,” he said, adding that is why the Opposition party keeps on raking up the matter.

He was speaking in the Lok Sabha while participating in a debate on Rafale deal. He also slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for allegedly indulging in “lies” over the Rafale fighter deal and said that the opposition party had played with the country’s security when in power.

“Last time the MP (Rahul Gandhi) spoke on the Rafale jets, he lied before the nation by concocting a conversation between him and the French President. Today, he repeats the same. Today, he tried to produce a tape but he is too scared to authenticate it,” Jaitley said.

However, BJP ally Shiv Sena on Wednesday supported the Congress demand for a JPC probe into the controversial Rafale deal. Arvind Sawant, Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha, said, “How is this offset contractor who didn’t have company, and it only existed on papers whereas HAL had everything. If our government is clean, then why are we afraid of JPC?”

Earlier, speaking on the Rafale deal, Gandhi threatened to play in the Lok Sabha an audio tape that claimed former Defence Minister and now Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has the Rafale files with him.

Rahul, however, aborted the idea after a strong protest from the treasury benches and insistence from Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to authenticate the tapes.

Amid continued slogan-shouting by Congress members, Finance Minister Jaitley called Gandhi a “conspirator” in defence scams like Bofors and AgustaWestland and said he understands “only paisa” at the cost of national security.

He said, “If the fingers point at you in AgustaWestland, National Herald and Bofors, then it is a bit too much. Today, they have the audacity to raise an allegation against us.”

Taking a dig at Gandhi, Jaitley said that it was regrettable that the “grand old party” Congress was being headed by a person who “does not understand what a fighter aircraft is.”

The Finance Minister also targeted former Defence Minister AK Antony, alleging the “simple man” had delayed the acquisition of the urgently-required Rafale fighters, despite it being shortlisted in 2012 through a tendering process.

Jaitley said, “There is a speciality about UPA in decision making that is if the aircraft being selected is not the one whose commerce you have dealt with then delay the transaction, make it impossible.”

Attacking Gandhi for continuously raking up the Rafale issue, Jaitley said, “his every word is belied in the face of Supreme Court’s judgement.”

Jaitley further said, “When he was young, he was playing in the lap of a certain ‘Q’ (Quattrocchi). Congress doesn’t understand national security.” His speech was disrupted as some Congress MPs threw paper planes towards the ruling benches.