Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his party of repeatedly "spreading falsehood and lies" over the Rafale deal and called him a "serial liar".
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, he said, "We have been witnessing the activities of a serial liar (Rahul Gandhi). I think only an issueless man can repeat a lie again and again, because he doesn't have any other issues."
His remarks came in the wake of Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier saying that the company's joint venture with Reliance in Nagpur represents only about 10 per cent of the offset obligations in the deal to purchase 36 fighter jets from France and it was in negotiations with about a hundred Indian companies to meet the requirements under the Defence Procurement Procedure of the Indian government.
"But even if a lie is repeated a hundred times it will never become a substitute for the truth. We have a gentleman manufacturing fake news and then trying to spread it. So repeating lie after lie, falsehood after falsehood, was not going to change the reality. The Congress is an issueless party, their leadership cannot understand basic figures, basic elementary facts.
Goyal said the Congressmen were possibly trying to hide their own misdemeanours of 2012 when under the pressure of the "first family" (Gandhi family) they cancelled important negotiations over the deal to benefit their associates and compromised national security.
Hailing the Modi government for the timely signing of the Rafale deal, the BJP leader said, "We have a crystal clear situation keeping national interest and the security of the nation as paramount."
He said that the BJP government decided to expedite the purchase of very crucial and critical defence equipment.
"We have been able to negotiate terms which are far better than what was the UPA terms between the 2007 and 2012. We have been able to get faster delivery, longer maintenance tenure, better availability of spare parts and the much needed capabilities particularly in the adversarial situation at the border," he said.
Referring to Trappier's comments, the BJP leader said that he has categorically confirmed that since the "implementation of offset was an obligation under the Indian regulation" also drafted under the UPA, they themselves choose the partners to implement the offsets".
"The CEO has confirmed that of their volition and choice they chose a particular company with which their discussions and contracts are persisting since 2012," he said.
Slamming the Congress, Goyal said, "The Reliance Dassault agreement dates back to 2012 and it immediately raises the question whether the Congress was trying to deflect its own misdeeds by cancelling the entire process because the French side was not willing to give business to a close associate of the first family i.e. Sanjay Bhandari."
"Who is Bhandari, what are his relations with the first family of the Congress? What are the angularities that the Congress decided to compromise the national security to drop the procurement of much needed defence equipment?" Goyal asked.
"It was time the Congress understood that this government was with highest standard of transparency and probity," he said.