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NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi launched a fresh attack on the government on Saturday over the Rafale deal, provoking a sharp response from Union minister Piyush Goyal who said the opposition party is welcome to contest the 2024 elections on the issue and claimed that many Congressmen had confided that the former Congress chief’s obsession with the deal is damaging the party.
The fresh controversy cropped up after Rahul cited media reports which claimed that the CAG had submitted its performance audit on defence offset contracts to the Centre with no mention of any offset deals related to the purchase of Rafale fighters.
“Money was stolen from the Indian exchequer in Rafale,” Rahul tweeted while quoting Mahatma Gandhi: “Truth is one, paths are many.”

In a sharp reaction to the Congress member’s comments, railway minister Piyush Goyal claimed that people within Congress feel that Gandhi was obsessed with the Rafale deal to wash off his father’s “sins”.
“Many of @RahulGandhi’s Congress colleagues confide in private that Rahul’s obsession with Rafale to wash off his father’s sins is damaging the party. But if someone is wanting to self-destruct, who are we to complain? We invite him to fight 2024 elections on Rafale,” Goyal tweeted.

Meanwhile, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the CAG report on defence offset performance will be tabled in the next session of Parliament.
“The C&AG Report No 20 of 2019… Defence Offset Performance was scheduled to be tabled in Parliament during the budget session (2020). The session ended, before date, due to Covid. Now the report will be placed in the next session. The contents will be known only after that,” Sitharaman said in a series of tweets.

Rahul continues to take up the Rafale deal even after the Supreme Court gave a clean chit to the government in the purchase of the fighter jets. The deal was part of Congress’ campaign in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
India has already received the first set of five Rafales from France in July this year.



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