Rafale fighter aircraft
Rafale fighter aircraftReuters

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the Rafale deal will not be cancelled and the Comptroller and Auditor General will look into the pricing of the aircraft to ascertain whether the deal by the NDA government was better than the one which was being negotiated by the UPA.

Jaitley said it was intriguing that previously Congress President Rahul Gandhi accused former French president Francois Hollande being hand in glove with Anil Ambani but now he is being projected as the main witness in the alleged wrongdoings in the deal.

"Reliance entered into a memorandum of understanding with Dassault in 2012 when UPA was negotiating the Rafale deal with France. Rahul's misplaced criticism should equally apply to that MoU too," Jaitley said.

Jaitley wrote in his blog: "It is no coincidence that on August 30, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted 'Globalised corruption. This Rafale aircraft really does fly far and fast! It's also going to drop some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks'. The former French president's first statement rhymes with Rahul Gandhi's prediction. Though I do not have any proof of this jugalbandi, but this creates suspicion in the mind. There is definitely something... a statement comes (from Hollande), then it is contradicted. But he (Rahul) predicted this to happen 20 days in advance".

The finance minister said on August 31 the Congress Party's official Twitter handle carried a tweet by a party leader saying that it was clear that Anil Ambani bribed Hollande through his actor-partner to get the partnership with Dassault.

"Hollande was countering statements made against him regarding conflict of interest in his dealing with Reliance Defence," Jaitley said.

Rafale controversy can damage ties: France

Meanwhile, the French government said on Sunday that Hollande's statement which caused a major uproar could damage relations between France and India.

Hollande, in an interview to a French news publication, had said that Dassault Aviation, the manufacturers of the Rafale fighter aircraft, was forced to accept Reliance Defence as their Indian partner in the Rs 59,000 crore deal to supply the Indian Air Force with 36 Rafales.

This development strengthened the opposition's claim that the Indian government helped Anil Ambani to bag the deal instead of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

In an interview with RJ Radio, France's junior foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said Hollande's remarks which concern the relations between France and India are damaging for everyone, particularly France.

"It is inappropriate for Hollande to make such remarks which can damage the strategic partnership between the two countries and cause controversy in India," Lemoyne added.