NDA is as accountable to Parliament as UPA was: Jaitley on Rafale deal

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Asserting that disclosing exact price of the weapons purchased is not in the interest of the nation, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that the opposition is "manufacturing allegations of corruption" against the NDA.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Congress president Rahul Gandhi had on Tuesday said that the BJP-led government's stand to not divulge the details of Rafale deal means that "there is a scam."

"It is in the larger interest of India's security to never disclose the price of defence transactions. You can give approximate price but if you give an exact price, you give away details of the weapons purchased," Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha.

"The new trend is to manufacture allegations of corruption against the NDA," he added.

To this, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said, "No one is manufacturing allegations. You are accountable to Parliament to disclose expenditure of public money."

Jaitley shot back and said, "NDA is as accountable to Parliament as UPA was."

The Finance Minister also said that the Congress president should recall what Pranab Mukherjee, a minister in the UPA regime, had said in Parliament when asked about defence deals.

['Why didn't PM speak on Rafale deal in his one hour speech?' asks Rahul Gandhi]

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on Monday said details, such as the per unit cost of the Rafale twin-engine fighter jet, cannot be revealed because of an agreement between the governments of India and France.

On Wednesday, the government, in a statement, said, "Demand that Government disclose details and value of the contract for the Rafale aircraft contracted in 2016 is unrealistic. The approximate acquisition cost of the Rafale aircraft has already been provided to the Parliament." "Provision of exact item-wise cost and other info will reveal, inter alia, details regarding various customizations and weapons systems specially designed to augment effectiveness and lethality of assets, impact our military preparedness and compromise our national security."

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