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Rafale deal: Modi govt 'squandered' national interest, their silence is precursor to imminent storm, Congress intensifies attack

  The party also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "squandering national interest" in the deal to purchase 36 fighter jets from France. 

Edited by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: November 17, 2018 7:59 IST ]
  Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris.

Further intensifying its attack on the Modi government, Congress on Friday questioned the Modi government's 'silence' on the fresh evidence in the Rafale 'scam'.

The party also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "squandering national interest" in the deal to purchase 36 fighter jets from France. 

"Today another undisputable evidence has come to the fore, which establishes the deliberately hiked commercial cost of the 36 Rafale aircraft deal signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015. The silence of Modi Government on the new skeletons that have tumbled out of the Rafale scam cupboard is a precursor to a massive storm," Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told the media in New Delhi.

He said Modi cannot escape from "his moral, political, legal and constitutional responsibility and accountability in the biggest defence scam of India."

"For truth to prevail, the only route is through a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe," he said. 

Khera said the "management meet note" of ICICI bank of February 28, 2017 again exposes the commercial cost of Rafale deal as well as again seals the cost of offset contract and life cycle cost contract.

"This is the sixth proof in public domain which testifies, that the per aircraft cost in Modi's deal is Rs 1,670 crore and that, flouting all norms, the Modi government handed over a Rs 30,000-crore offset contract," Khera said. 

Referring to management meet note, he said it states that Reliance Defence has already formed a joint venture with French major Dassault for execution of offset obligations, as a part of the 36 Rafale fighter jet purchase valued at Rs 59,000 crore. 

"The offset obligation in this contract is pegged at 50 per cent of the total cost, i.e. Rs 29500 crore. The management has pegged this opportunity from the Rafale programme at Rs 105,000 crore. Dassault Reliance JV will provide performance-based logistics for 50 years (scope includes maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrades). If awarded, it is also expected to execute additional orders of Rafale fighter aircraft for Indian armed forces under the Make in India programme," he said reading from the note. 

Khera said the annual report 2016 of Dassault Aviation had revealed the cost of per aircraft and offset obligations by Reliance Defence. 

He referred to some other documents and alleged that a former Finance Minister official had "spilled the beans indicting the Modi government for corrupt practices in fixing a higher benchmark price."

"Now a third party document has reiterated the same figures of the commercial cost of the 36 Rafale deal," Khera said.

"What is stopping the Modi government from revealing the commercial cost of the Rafale Deal as well as the details of offset obligations?" he asked. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.

ALSO READ | Rafale deal: Centre makes documents public, says defence procurement procedure followed, pricing details negotiated on 'better terms'

 The Congress has been alleging massive irregularities in the deal, saying the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government when it was negotiating the deal.

Earlier on November 12, in its report to the Supreme Court, the government made the pricing details of the deal public and said that all the defence procurement process has been thoroughly followed in the agreement.

The document also dismissed repeated allegations by Congress President Rahul Gandhi that Prime Minister Narendra Modi forced the French company Dassault Aviation to select a Reliance group firm of Anil Ambani as an offset partner to help it "pocket" Rs 30,000 crore. It also said that the pricing details for the 36 Rafale jets were negotiated on better terms than the previous deal.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on pleas seeking court-monitored probe in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph concluded the arguments advanced by various parties which have also sought registration of FIR in connection with the alleged irregularities in the deal. 

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