Rahul trying to divert attention by attacking Modi on Rafale issue: BJP

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 07, 2019, 06.37 PM(IST)

File photo of Union Minister Arun Jaitley. Photograph:( Twitter )

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At a Cabinet briefing, Union minister Arun Jaitley told reporters that every falsehood the Congress and Rahul Gandhi have spoken on the Rafale issue has been 'exposed'. 

Asserting that the Congress has boxed itself into a corner on the issue of national security, the BJP Thursday dubbed its president Rahul Gandhi's attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale issue an attempt to shift the focus due to people's "revulsion" against it.

At a Cabinet briefing, Union minister Arun Jaitley told reporters that every falsehood the Congress and Rahul Gandhi have spoken on the Rafale issue has been "exposed", adding that no dynast can claim that he is above the Supreme Court and the CAG.

"Words were very few, facts were completely wrong and the motivation was also collateral," Jaitley said of Gandhi's press conference.

He claimed that the facts which have emerged about the matter so far have "proved" that the Congress and its leader have spoken "lies" on every issue. 

"The Congress has in the last few days through statements of its senior leaders has boxed itself into a corner. They are getting high TRP on Pakistan television but there is revulsion as far as domestic opinion in India is concerned," he said.

Therefore, the motivation today was collateral, to shift the focus and take up an issue which is "false" and whose every "falsehood" has been exposed, he added.

He also defended the government's stand in the Supreme Court over publication of critical media reports that they were based the Rafale documents "stolen" from the defence ministry and that they violated Official Secrets Act.

"It is obvious that defence notings of an issue of sensitive interest to the country have been leaked... We have a very free press and we respect it. Even framers of the Constitution said national security is an exception and that has never been challenged in last 72 years," he said.

On Gandhi's criticism of the government on the Rafale issue, the senior BJP leader said the government has repeatedly made its position clear on the issue.

The Supreme Court has spoken on it and the petitioners are taking one more chance, he said, adding that the CAG has already analysed it. 

Earlier in the day, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Gandhi neither believes the Indian Air Force nor the Supreme Court verdict and asked if he needed a certificate from Pakistan about the fighter aircraft.

The Congress president believes Pakistan more than Indian forces and its leaders, Prasad said. 

"I totally condemn blatant lies of Rahul Gandhi. He does not believe the Indian Air Force, does not trust the Supreme Court verdict that clearly said there is no commercial impropriety in the (Rafale) procurement process. He does not believe the CAG," Prasad said.

"Will Rahul Gandhi need a certificate about Rafale from Pakistan. In that we cannot help. Of late he believes Pakistan more than Indian forces and its leaders," the senior BJP leader added. 

Addressing a press conference in the morning, Gandhi asked why a probe cannot be ordered against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a "Rs 30,000-crore scam" when an investigation has been initiated into the theft of official documents related to the fighter jet deal.

He accused the prime minister of conducting parallel negotiations on the fighter jet deal and the government of manipulating institutions to "save" him.

The parallel negotiations "retarded" the delivery of Rafale, he claimed.