Congress sees scam in Rafale aircraft deal
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Ltd. terms charges baseless
Alleging that a “scam is brewing” in the purchase of Rafale jets from France, the Congress on Tuesday accused the Centre of “promoting the interests of Prime Minister’s crony capitalist friends”.
At a press conference, Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said the Modi government had violated the defence procurement procedure (DPP) and bypassed the interests of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).
“On April 10, 2015, Prime Minister Modi visits France and announces the deal for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aicraft in flyaway condition. This was done unilaterally without following the DPP, without any inter-governmental agreement and in the absence of Defence Minister. However, Mr. Anil Ambani, owner of Reliance Defence Ltd. was present in France during the PM’s visit,” Mr. Surjewala said.
Reliance Defence Limited called the Congress allegations “baseless” and “unfounded” and asked the party to gets its facts right. “Shri Anil Ambani is a member of Indo-French CEO Forum. In the said meeting, more than 20 CEOs were present,” said a statement from Reliance Defence Ltd.
The Congress leader said that while the UPA government had signed the Rafale deal as a joint venture between its French maker, Dassault Aviation, and India’s HAL, the Modi government cancelled the entire process on July 30, 2015.
The Congress said that while India signed the $8.7 billion deal [for purchase of 36 Rafale jets] on September 23 last year, just 10 days later, on October 3, 2016, RDL entered into a JV with the French fighter plane maker.
“It is time for the PM to answer why the planes were bought at such an inflated costs?Is it not true that as per UPA-negotiated price, the cost of one plane was ₹5,26.1 crore whereas under the NDA, the plane is costing ₹1,570 crore?” Mr. Surjewala asked.
A file photo of a Rafale fighter jet in Paris.