Explain Rafale cost, Rahul Gandhi tells Nirmala Sitharaman

Rafale deal | 'What’s shameful is your boss silencing you,' Rahul Gandhi brutally takes down Nirmala Sitharaman

He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of bypassing procedure in finalising the purchase of 36 fighter jets with the French.

Gandhi tweeted, "Did PM take CCS [Cabinet Committee on Security] permission before announcing purchase in Paris?"

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit back at Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for terming his party's Rafale deal corruption allegations as "Shameful". We have negotiated for 36 French fighter aircraft Rafale (at a price) lower than that in the contract.

TALKING TO media here, Ms Sitharaman said, "The decision to buy 36 Rafale aircrafts was taken following the due procedure".

"We will have to buy more (fighter aircraft), but who we will buy it from, when we will buy, we will see that", she said.

"Between 2004 and 2014, entire decade, the UPA could not arrive at a decision". Final price of each Rafale jet? 2.

Rahul also asked the Defence Minister to explain that "Why PM bypassed experienced HAL & gave the deal to AA rated businessman with no defence experience".

The minister, flanked by defence secretary Sanjay Mitra and IAF deputy chief Air Marshal R Nambiar at a press conference in South Block on Friday, said the cost negotiated per aircraft by the NDA government was "much lower" than what was being negotiated by the UPA government after Rafale had emerged as the L-1 (lowest bidder) in the MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) competition.

The deliveries of the aircraft will start from 2019 end, and will be ended in 2022.

The Congress had raised several questions on the deal, accusing the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting "crony capitalism" and causing a loss to the public exchequer. Indian Air Force bases at Ambala in Haryana, close to the western border, and Hashimara in West Bengal, close to the China border, are set to home the squadrons of Rafale fighters.

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