Rafale deal: Taxpayers will pay Rs 1 lakh crore, says Rahul

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday claimed that the due to the Rafale fighter jet deal, Indian taxpayers will have to pay the “Prime Minister’s friend’s joint venture Rs 1 lakh crore over five decades to maintain the aircraft.

The Congress has launched an offensive on the prime minister and his government over the Rafale deal, alleging favouritism in granting the offset contract to Reliance Defence, in violation of the rules and has accused Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “lying” to the nation on the issue

Taking a dig, he said that Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will as usual hold a press conference to deny this charge.

“Over the next 50 years, Indian taxpayers will pay Mr 56’s (Modi) friend’s JV, (Rs) 100,000 crore to maintain 36 #RafaleScam jets, India is buying,” Gandhi tweeted.

“Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister) will address a press conference to deny this, as usual. But the truth is in the presentation I’m attaching,” he said, tagging along a Reliance Infrastructure Investors Presentation.

“Dear Trolls, I apologise for my earlier tweet in which I stated Mr 56’s friend’s JV, received 4 Billion US$’s of ‘off set’ contracts”.

“I forgot to add the 16 Billion US$ RAFALE “lifecycle” contract. 20 BILLION US$, is the actual benefit. So Sorry!!,” he tweeted, using the hashtag “130000CroreRafaleScam”.

The Congress chief alleged that there was “truth” to his claims, which would be denied “as usual” by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a press conference. Gandhi also enclosed a Reliance Infrastructure presentation with his tweet. The Congress party has been stepping up attack on BJP over the Rafale deal and accused Modi and Sitharaman of “lying” to the nation.

In a tweet on Friday, Gandhi had also accused the BJP government of favouring Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence by granting it the ‘offset contracts’. He presented a recalculation that pegged the purported gain to Reliance Defence at $20 billion, equivalent to Rs 1.30 lakh crore, through the contracts in the deal.

It said that “Reliance Defence Limited has secured the offset contract from Dassault Aviation for Rs 30,000 crore and a consequent ‘Lifecycle opportunity’ is estimated at Rs 1 lakh crore over 50 years.”