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Rahul seeks to nail 'Jaitlie'

Rahul Gandhi. Picture by Prem Singh.

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Friday tweeted parliamentary records showing prices of three military acquisitions, challenging Arun Jaitley's justification for not disclosing the cost of each Rafale fighter jet on the ground of national security.

"Dear Mr Jaitlie, You said the UPA never released prices of Defence purchases? To nail your lie, here are 3 Parliamentary replies by the UPA with full transparency on pricing. Now do ask our Raksha Mantri to tell India how much each RAFALE jet cost. #DealMeinKuchKalaHai," Rahul tweeted.

The reference by Rahul in the past to "Jaitlie" had triggered a privilege motion that is now pending before the Lok Sabha Speaker.

On Thursday, Jaitley had said then defence ministers Pranab Mukherjee and A.K. Antony had refused to disclose the details of the weapons purchased from the US and Israel and added that the present government was following the tradition in national security.

On Friday, Rahul tweeted copies of parliamentary replies given when UPA-II was in power.

One answer by Antony on March 15, 2010, said contracts and supplementary agreements for the acquisition of the aircraft carrier "ex-Admiral Gorshkov" from Russia in January 2004 "at a cost of US Dollars 974 million" were concluded. The answer also quoted a revised price of "$2,330 million" approved by the government.

Another answer by Antony on March 3, 2013, said "the last contracted price for each Mirage 2000 aircraft in the year 2000 was 133 crore. The contract for the upgrade was signed in 2011, wherein the cost of upgrading one aircraft was 167 crore". The reply also mentions that after factoring in cost escalation, the figure works out to "195 crore".

The third reply, also by Antony and dated August 9, 2010, relates to the purchase of 42 Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. "The estimated cost of the project is Rs 20107.40 crores and the aircraft is planned to be delivered during 2014-2018," a part of the reply says.

On Thursday in the Lok Sabha, finance minister Jaitley had accused Rahul of "manufacturing the issue falsely at the cost of national security" by demanding the disclosure of the purchase price of each Rafale jet.

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