Rafale: Cong alleges Modi govt benefited pvt company

Last Updated 04 September 2018, 14:33 IST

The Congress on Tuesday alleged the Narendra Modi-led government inflicted losses to a state-run company and benefitted a private company with the Rafale jet deal.

The opposition party also demanded a probe by the Joint Parliamentary Committee into the deal.

"The NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed the Rafale deal to benefit a private company to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore," Congress Rajya Sabha member Kumari Selja told reporters.

While the Congress has been alleging that the Rafale deal was a "scam", the allegations have been refuted by the government.

"The UPA government, in December 12, 2012, agreed to buy a fighter aircraft from Dassault Aviation for Rs 526.10 crore and going by this deal the price of 36 aircraft was Rs 18,940 crore," Selja said.

"But the Modi government junked the agreement, and on April 10, 2015, went for buying 36 aircraft for 7.5 billion euros, which means Rs 60,145 crore. At this rate, cost of each aircraft jumped to Rs 1,670.70 crore," the former Union minister said.

This way, Modi caused a loss of Rs 41,205 crore to the state coffers, she alleged.

"Besides, the government inflicted a loss to a state-run company and profited a private company with Rs 30,000 crore," she said.

The Congress leader said the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) had inked an offset contract with inked Dassault Aviation in the shape of a work share agreement on March 13, 2014, but it was "snatched away from the HAL and given to private company Reliance Defence, which does not have any work experience, for Rs 30,000 crore".

Reliance group has refuted the charges of any undue benefit from the deal and has already sent legal notices to a number of Congress leaders asking them to "cease and desist" from levelling these allegations.

Selja further claimed that the Modi government gave the Reliance firm Rs 1,00,000 crore life-cycle cost contract related to Rafale.

She further alleged Modi had said in April 2015 that 36 Rafale aircraft were being procured under emergency purchase, but the first aircraft would not land in India until September 2019 and the entire fleet of 36 imported fighter aircraft would reach the country by 2022.

"This means that under the deal of April 2015, the Air Force would get the aircraft in eight years. So what is the point of emergency purchase?" she asked.

In view of the growing threat from China and Pakistan, she said, it was a compromise with the country's security.

"The Indian Air Force needs at least 126 fighter aircraft. Previous Congress-led UPA government's request for proposal was based on it in 2012," the Congress leader said.

"But Prime Minister Modi reduced this to 36 from 126, without holding consultations with the Air Force," she alleged and sought a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into Rafale deal.

(Published 04 September 2018, 14:12 IST)

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