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Why didn't Modi govt buy 7 squadrons of Rafale jets, asks Chidambaram

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New Delhi, Dec 15: In a sarcastic jibe at the Union Government, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram asked why the BJP-led government did not buy seven squadrons of Rafale jets if it had negotiated them for a lesser price than UPA.

In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said Jaitley has been maintaining that in the Rafale deal, negotiated by the NDA government, the price of the aircraft was cheaper by 9 per cent or 20 per cent.

Former union minister P Chidambaram

Former union minister P Chidambaram

"If so, why did the government buy only 36 aircraft and not 126 aircraft," he asked. The former finance and home minister said the Indian Air Force has been maintaining that its fighter aircraft strength is depleted and it needs at least 7 squadrons (126 aircraft).

"Then, why did the government buy only 2 squadrons (36 aircraft)," he questioned. Chidambaram said the aircraft maker was willing to sell 126 aircraft and according to the finance minister the price is cheaper.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

"Then, why buy only 36 aircraft? Will someone please solve this mystery? By buying only 36 aircraft when 126 aircraft are on offer, the government has gravely compromised national security," Chidambaram said.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court

In a relief to the Modi government, the Supreme Court Friday dismissed the pleas challenging the deal between India and France for purchase of 36 Rafale jets, saying there was no reason to "really doubt the decision making process" warranting setting aside of the contract.

[Here is what Supreme Court said on Rafale deal: 12 points]

SC on Friday dismissed petitions challenging Rafale deal

SC on Friday dismissed petitions challenging Rafale deal

The apex court rejected the pleas seeking lodging of an FIR and the court-monitored probe alleging irregularities in the Rs 58,000-crore deal, in which both the countries have entered into an inter-governmental agreement.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dealt with "three broad areas of concern" raised in the petitions - the decision-making process, pricing and the choice of Indian offset partners - and said there was no reason for intervention by the court on the "sensitive issue" of purchase of 36 jets.

OneIndia News with PTI inputs

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