New Delhi: The BJP once again fired salvos at the Congress on Friday over Rahul Gandhi’s claims about the Rafale fighter jet deal as Union minister and senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal called Gandhi a “serial liar”.

“Of late we have been experiencing the activities of a serial liar. Only an issueless man can repeat a lie again and again. But, even if a lie is repeated a hundred times, it cannot become a substitute for truth. A gentleman has been beating a dead horse, manufacturing fake news and trying to spread it,” Goyal said in a press conference at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

“We have a crystal clear situation where, keeping national interest paramount, the purchase of crucial defence equipment was expedited. We have been able to negotiate terms way more favourable than those in UPA times between 2007 and 2012. We have been able to get faster delivery, longer maintenance tenure, better availability of spares and much-needed defence capabilities particularly in the adversarial situation at the borders,” the minister asserted.

Referring to Dassault’s latest revelation, Goyal said, “Yesterday, we got more clarity from the CEO of Dassault Aviation, who categorically confirmed that since the implementation of offsets was an obligation, under the Indian regulation, also drafted under UPA, they themselves chose the partners.”

“Of their own volition and choice, as the CEO has said, they chose a partner and their discussions have been persisting since 2012,” Goyal said, attacking the Congress over the alleged involvement of Robert Vadra and his associate Sanjay Bhandari. “The Dassault-Reliance contract dates back to 2012. So, a question arises: Is the Congress deflecting from its own misdeeds — to have cancelled the entire contract — as the French side was not willing to give business to a close associate of the first family, Sanjay Bhandari. One wonders who is Bhandari and what his relations are with the first family of Congress. What are the angularities under which the Congress decided to scrap the entire procurement of much-needed defence equipment just because an associate of the family was not being entertained?” he asked.

Also read: 'Doing only 10% offsets with Reliance': Dassault CEO debunks Rahul Gandhi's Rafale allegation

Claiming that Narendra Modi led a government “with the highest standard of transparency and probity” and had “taken significant steps for national security”, Goyal said Gandhi was only “convoluting” the facts.

“Misinterpretations or convoluted interpretations were sought to be disseminated of a communication made by the French company to labour unions, conveying categorically that under the ‘Made in India’ programme, we are obliged to procure from India, therefore we will have to set up some facilities in India, instead of setting up in France,” he said.

“Claiming that the ex-French president called PM Modi a thief was the worst diplomatic gaffe a senior political leader could do. It is shameful that in desperation, the principal opposition party to have involved world leaders of a country with which we have friendly ties,” Goyal said.