Congress’s Rahul Gandhi congratulated the Air Force on its acquisition of the Rafale fighter jets.

Congress’s Rahul Gandhi tweeted a jibe at the Centre hours after the first contingent of Rafale jet fighters made a touchdown Haryana’s Ambala this afternoon. In his tweets, Mr Gandhi — one of the biggest critics of the government’s Rs 59,000-crore deal — revived the three questions he had focused on before last year’s general elections.

Mr Gandhi’s questions — posted in both Hindi and English, read: “Congratulations to IAF for Rafale. Meanwhile, can GOI answer: 1) Why each aircraft costs Rs1670 Crores instead of Rs526 Crores? 2) Why 36 aircraft were bought instead of 126? 3) Why was bankrupt Anil given a Rs30,000 Crores contract instead of HAL?”

The Congress campaign for national election — held in April-May last year —  was built around the allegation that PM Modi had signed off on an overpriced deal to facilitate an offset contract for Anil Ambani’s inexperienced defence company. The government had rubbished the allegations.

The Congress was decimated in the election, with allegations regarding Rafale and Mr Gandhi’s “Chowkidar Chor Hai (the watchman is a thief)” campaign — a personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi — failing to translate into votes.

The Supreme Court has given a clean chit to the government regarding the deal. In November last year, following a Congress petition, the top court had confirmed its earlier order, saying there was no need to begin an inquiry into the matter.

The Congress had continued its demand for an investigation into the deal.

As the five Rafale jets, escorted by two Sukhoi-30s landed today, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh has tweeted a warning.

Without naming the Congress, Mr Singh tweeted: “I would like to add, if it is anyone who should be worried about or critical about this new capability of the Indian Air Force, it should be those who want to threaten our territorial integrity.”

Another tweet read: “The Rafale jets were purchased when they fully met the operational requirements of the IAF. The baseless allegations against this procurement have already been answered and settled”.

Mr Singh had also praised the Prime Minister, tweeting : “The Rafale jets were purchased only because PM Shri @narendramodi took the right decision to get these aircrafts through an Inter-Governmental Agreement with France, after the long pending procurement case for them could not progress. I thank him for his courage & decisiveness.”


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