Rafale deal: Congress alleges scam, BJP trashes charge

Rafale deal: While the Congress did not give out any details to back its allegation that a “scam is brewing”, it asked a series of questions to the government.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: November 15, 2017 2:06 pm
Thales, Reliance Defence, Rafale combat aircrafts, Anil Ambani Dassault Rafale fighter jets fly over the Pyramid of the Louvre Museum as part of a rehearsal of the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France, July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The Congress Tuesday alleged that a “huge scam is brewing” in the NDA government’s procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. The party did not give details, but said the aircraft are being bought at an “inflated price” and claimed the government had gone ahead with the deal without the transfer of technology. The BJP responded by calling the allegations baseless and said the Opposition party is trying to divert attention as it is scared at the prospect of several of its leaders being questioned in connection with the AgustaWestland case.

Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said at a press meet that “complete non-transparency, flagrant violation of mandatory provisions of the defence procurement procedure, sacrificing national interests on transfer of technology to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and blatant promotion of financial interests of crony capitalist friends of PM have marred” the aircraft deal. While the Congress did not give out any details to back its allegation that a “scam is brewing”, it asked a series of questions to the government.

Surjewala said the deal negotiated by the UPA government was for purchase of 126 aircraft at a base price of 10.2 billion dollars with the transfer of technology. “Is it correct that the Modi government is buying 36 Rafale aircraft without the transfer of technology for 8.7 billion dollars? Does it not mean that 126 Rafale aircraft would have cost 30.45 billion dollars (without the transfer of technology) at the price arrived at by Modi government?…Who is responsible for the loss to exchequer?” Surjewala asked.

Rafale deal, Rafale, India-France Rafale fighter jets. (File)

He asked how the Prime Minister took the “unilateral decision” to purchase 36 aircraft “by passing the mandatory defence procurement procedure and in the absence of an inter-governmental agreement with France at that time?” “Why has the Modi government forgone transfer of technology for the defence acquisition,” asked Surjewala, also accusing the Prime Minister of promoting interests of Reliance Defence Limited, which, he said, has entered into a joint venture with Dassault Aviation, which manufactures Rafale aircraft.

“Why was this done by Prime Minister bypassing the interests of a reputed public sector undertaking like HAL? Why has the joint venture for the biggest-ever Indian defence deal between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence Limited not gone through the proper procedure of approval by the Union Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Security and Foreign Investment Promotion Board?” he asked.

Reacting to Congress’s allegations, BJP spokesperson G V L Rao said, “The Congress party has made baseless allegations over the Rafale deal to divert public attention and to cry political vendetta. None of these stunts will work and they must be ready to answer who took bribes in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal as the money trail is going to become known after the extradition of Carlos Gerosa,” Rao said. Gerosa, alleged middleman in the chopper deal, was arrested in Italy last month.

Late on Tuesday evening, a statement by Reliance Defence Limited said, “The Joint Venture between Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Dassault Aviation is a bilateral agreement between two private companies.Dassault Aviation selected Reliance Aerostructure Ltd as its joint venture partner. The Indian government has no role to play in this.” On allegations that proper procedure was not followed, it said, the “government policy issued on 24 June 2016 allows for 49 % FDI in the Defence Sector under the automatic route, without any prior approval. No approvals from the Union Cabinet or CCS were required for the formation of the aforesaid Joint Venture company under the automatic route.”

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  1. R
    RationalIndian
    Nov 15, 2017 at 9:51 pm
    Complaining about AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal now? How is that relevant here? Classic whataboutism! Just because they scammed, doesn't mean your crimes will be justified or can be nullified.
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    1. R
      Raj
      Nov 16, 2017 at 1:06 am
      Atleast educate yourself - AgustaWestland deal was a SCAM - and its hearing is coming soon. To deflect this attention this CHORgress are trying to sabotage the Rafale deal once again by throwing allegations without any evidence. The IAF itself wanted these aircraft and for $10.2 billion even one squadron of Rafale can't be bought - Dassault's price for $10.2 was in 2010 when the MMRCA was first initiated. Not today. Corrupt criminals trying desperately to blame other people of criminality? Name one Gandhi family member who WASNT a crook ?
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      1. H
        hari
        Nov 18, 2017 at 5:04 pm
        let CAG investigate like agusta westlang. I donot know how to equate 126 for 10.2 billion dollars and 36 for 8 billion.
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        1. H
          hari
          Nov 18, 2017 at 5:06 pm
          This is the tragedy for India, before India was for Italy now for french.
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      2. S
        Sing is
        Nov 15, 2017 at 8:21 pm
        Why Modi negotiated for Reliance? Clearly Modi has some benefit from it.
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        1. R
          Raj
          Nov 16, 2017 at 1:08 am
          LOL Typical aap . Dassault negotiated with Reliance. PM Modi negotiated with French Govt for Dassault Rafale fighers - not even with Dassault company. He signed the agreement with President Hollande in Paris in 2015. Dassault's offset requirements are 30 - they choose Reliance as a partner.
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        2. K
          karol
          Nov 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm
          Mr. Surjewala it is advised to use ur energy in positive vibes. Since, 1914 on wards u have done nothing constructive except coming out with stupid arguments, which people have stopped buying. I will take it as cheap publicity stunt.
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          1. P
            Praveen
            Nov 15, 2017 at 5:50 am
            It is simply a joint venture between the two private limited companies. The Congress should do its homework first before hurling will allegations. This is highly irresponsible. However, the deal has been finished without transfer of technology is, indeed, surprising and shocking. We have always accomplished such deals with the provision of transfer of technology so that future aircrafts could be made in India and we don't have to look for the manufacturing company for parts and repairs. Supposing they refuse, our billions of dollars go down the drain.
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            1. R
              RationalIndian
              Nov 15, 2017 at 9:54 pm
              Ya what? That money is coming right out of taxpayer's pockets!
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              1. J
                johnny
                Nov 15, 2017 at 11:04 pm
                Chicken heads first go do some homework! India is not old India when Congress used to fool and rule.. base price of Rafale is $80 million.. with Congress Deal you only get 18 units from the company and remaining 108 has to be built by us and they refused to take responsibility for the units built in India! $10.1 billion deal is for 18 fly away units and transfer of tech for remaining units.. who will pay for building cost and support cost of those jets? Zakir Naik? Congi pimp Surjewala nicely hiding the fact total cost of 126 units with spares and service for 40 years will cost more than $30 billion! now do some math $30B/126 vs $7.8B/36... don't take the pain to add inflation and go find the how much Qatar paid for each unit.. its $290 million.. !
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                1. R
                  Raj
                  Nov 16, 2017 at 1:10 am
                  Air Force is run by Taxpayers or Ambani genius ? Who Dassault decides to work with is not the business of the Govt of India. Govt of India is paying money to the Govt of France - which is contracting Dassault to build Rafales for India. You are not RationalIndian - your name should be CHORIndian
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