Watch LIVE: Press conference by Rahul Gandhi demanding a JPC probe on Rafale Scam

Watch Live Press Conference by Congress President Rahul Gandhi demanding a JPC probe on Rafale Scam. Congress tweeting by #IndiaDemandsJPC

Shri Rahul Gandhi said Madam Speaker; I would like to wish a very Happy New Year to all my colleagues and to the youngsters who have come to see the speech today and also to all the citizens of the country. It is a tragedy that our friends in the AIADMK are not allowing a debate and are trying to protect the Prime Minister. This debate is about the Rafale issue and it is a tragedy that Members of the AIADMK who represent Tamil Nadu are doing the service for the BJP. Anyway, as an opposition leader my job is to raise questions on the Government. I watched part of the interview of the Prime Minister yesterday and he spoke for almost one and a half hours on different issues and in the interview he said that no one is raising the question with regard to him on Rafale. That no one is accusing the Prime Minister on Rafale. Well, I would like to say in the House that is not true, the entire nation is asking a direct question about the Prime Minister and the entire Nation is asking why the Prime Minister can speak for one and a half hour in a staged interview and not answer the fundamental questions of Rafale.

The questions of Rafale occurs on three pillars – the first pillar is the process with regard to the deal. The second pillar is the pricing and the third and most interesting pillar is Paisa patronage. So I would like to say a little bit about these three pillars and these are the questions that we have been asking the Prime Minister from the beginning. The Rafale aircraft was chosen after dedicated work – after eight years of work by the Air Force. Senior officers of the Air Force chose the Rafale aircraft after a long negotiations and Air Force wanted 126 aircrafts. Now the question is why was the demand for 126 aircraft changed to 36 aircrafts. Who changed the requirement of the Air Force from 126 to 36? Did something changed with the requirement of national security? Did the Air Force request the Government, did the Air Force ask the Government, tell the Government, No, we do not want 126 planes; we want only 36 planes? That is one question. In other related question, the excuse given for 36 aircraft was that we needed the aircraft urgently. Well, then I would like to ask a question – if you needed the aircraft urgently, why is it that not a single Rafale aircraft has landed on Indian soil until today. The entire procedure of the deal from the beginning to the end, was bye passed. The Defence Minister Mr. Parrikar was asked whether he knew about the new deal that bye passed the old deal. Mr. Parrikar himself said I have no idea about the new deal. The Defence Minister stated that the Cabinet Committee on Security which is supposed to authorize any deal gave no authorization. This is a known fact. It has come out in a large number of newspapers but the Prime Minister, does not have a comment. So, one fundamental question – starting question for the Prime Minister you change the old deal of 126 aircrafts and replaced it with a new deal of 36 aircrafts. Did the Air Force changed their demand for the number of planes or did you unilaterally, without asking the Air Force, changed this demand. So that is question No. 1.

The second question – and this is the question on pricing. Everybody knows that the Rafale aircraft which UPA was going to buy was going to be bought for Rs. 526 crore an aircraft, this is a fact, everybody knows it. When Shri Narendra Modi Ji went to France, he met the then President of France Mr. Hollande and a new deal was constructed. The price of the aircraft under the new deal went from Rs. 526 crore to Rs. 1,600 crore. So, the next question to the Prime Minister is why did the price go from Rs. 526 crore to Rs. 1,600 crore? Why did the President of France, in a public statement, clearly say that the Prime Minister of India himself told me that the new price would be valid and the contract would be taken away from HAL and given to Shri Ambani at his behest? Another question to the Prime Minister is that is it not a fact that the new price that you negotiated, Rs. 1,600 crore, was objected to by the Defence Ministry officials. Is there an objection to this new price put forward by the Defence Ministry that is another question on pricing?

Finally, we come to the questions of paisa or patronage. Now, HAL has been making Aircrafts for 70 years. The GNAT Aircraft was responsible for winning the 1965 war. The Sukhoi Su-30 Aircraft, Mirage Aircraft, The MiG-27 Aircraft, these were all helped, the HAL constructed these Aircrafts. So, HAL has a tremendous record and HAL is the potential future aviation industry of this country. HAL gives jobs to thousands of youngsters and HAL is the bedrock of technology in this country, has tremendous successes. On the other side, Mr. Anil Ambani is a failed businessman; Rs. 45,000 crores in debt Mr. Anil Ambani opens a company 10 days before he receives the HAL contract. The President of France says the Prime Minister of India has ordered us to give this contract to Mr. Anil Ambani.

Mr. Anil Ambani has a plot of land, which was purchased by money given by Dassault to Mr. Anil Ambani. So, the next question is Dear Prime Minister, why did you give this contract to your dear friend Mr. Anil Ambani and cost the exchequer Rs. 30,000 crore? Why did you take this contract away from HAL and give Mr. Anil Ambani Rs. 30,000 crores? I see here, the Defence Minister is sitting, hiding behind the AIADMK people. I can see her hiding and I can see her smiling. The same Defence Minister, who publically stated that price is a secret, negotiated with Mr. Macron. In my last speech, I made it very clear that the Defence Minister was contradicted by Mr. Macron himself, who personally told me Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Anand Sharma that the French Government and Mr. Emmanuel Macron have no issue with India being told the price of the Rafale Jets. So, friends, there are a number of holes in the Rafale story and you will recall that the last time the Prime Minister came and listened to my speech. You will recall that the Prime Minister came and gave a long speech of one and half hour where he did not talk for five minutes about Rafale. So, it is very clear that the Prime Minister does not have the guts to come to Parliament and confront the questions. The Defence Minister hides behind the AIADMK people and the Prime Minister hides in his room.

Now, with your permission speaker Madam, I would like to, play a little tape recording that has been released today in the media. Do I have your permission speaker Madam to play a little tape recording; this is a tape recording of the Health Minister of Goa. Do I have your permission Madam? I can play it Madam?

Shri Rahul Gandhi said- Madam, I would like to in the spirit of the 21stcentury- I would like to play this recording. It is a recording of a Minister in the Goa Government, where he is clearly stating something. The Chief Minister of Goa has stated in a Cabinet meeting. Madam, do I have your permission? Madam, if you are not giving me permission because they are scared, I will read the transcript of the recording. Good Evening Sir, Boss, Good Evening, I had called today. There was a …… (interruptions)

So, Madam, I understand that they are very terrified of this type of thing. So, Madam, I will not play the tape. If it makes you happy, I will not play the tape. (The House adjourned)

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