Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Cong trying to manufacture a controversy: Jaitley on Rafale vs Bofors

By Smita Prakash | Updated: Aug 29, 2018 14:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Aug 29 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that the Congress party is trying to manufacture a controversy by bringing up the Rafale issue to hide the Bofors scam that took place during their governance.

In an exclusive interview to ANI, on being asked whether the Congress trying to whitewash the Bofors deal by making a similar kind of allegation, the Union Minister said: "They are trying to manufacture a controversy when none exists…They are guilty of compromising national security. That’s a question they have to answer. They are guilty of falsehood on every count. That’s a question they have to answer. Whether 2016 price, both of the bare aircraft and loaded aircraft is cheaper than the 2007 price when taken in totality? They are guilty of saying there’s a private party in this contract. An offset arrangement which Rafale or somebody else may have with 10 different parties has nothing to do with the Government of India. They’re guilty on that score, and in the process, putting the entire acquisition process which is vital for national security under a shadow."

Jaitley added that Bofors was a case where bank accounts were detected into which the Swedish companies deposited money in Switzerland.

"There was Mr Quattrocchi’s bank accounts, there were people being paid. If you had the slightest ethical integrity, Bofors was a case where we detected the bank accounts into which the Swedish companies paid the money in Switzerland. We were able to identify the beneficial owners of those bank accounts, and one of the owners was somebody then close to the ruling party or the ruling family, Mr Quattrocchi. Now where are all these facts? It is a government to government agreement. Government of India and the Government of France. Therefore, there is no private party in this contract," he added.

The Rafale jet was chosen in 2012. India initially planned to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets from the France, with 108 others to be assembled in the country by the state-run plane-maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Later Prime Minister Modi-led government scrapped the UPA's plan in 2015 and announced that it would buy 36 "ready-to-fly" Rafale jets instead of seeking a technology transfer from France's Dassault Aviation and making the aircraft in India.

The Rs. 64-crore Bofors scam, relating to alleged payment of kickbacks in the procurement of Howitzer Artillery Guns, dates back to 1980s and 1990s, when the Congress was in power under Rajiv Gandhi’s leadership.

The then Central Government had allegedly signed a 1.4-billion dollar defence deal with Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors for the sale of 410 field Fowitzer Guns and a supply contract almost twice that amount. (ANI)