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Rafale deal back on Congress radar after CAG report states Dassault did not meet offset obligation

agar Kulkarni
Last Updated : 24 September 2020, 15:23 IST
Last Updated : 24 September 2020, 15:23 IST
Last Updated : 24 September 2020, 15:23 IST
Last Updated : 24 September 2020, 15:23 IST

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The Rafale deal is back on the Congress' radar as the government auditor flagged the failure of Dassault Aviation to meet its offset obligation of transferring high-end technology to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

“Chronology of biggest Defence deal continues to unfold. The new CAG report admits that ‘technology transfer’ shelved in Rafale offsets. 1st, ‘Make in India’ became ‘Make in France’. Now, DRDO dumped for tech transfer,” AICC General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the offset obligations should have started on September 23, 2019 and the first annual commitment should have been completed by September 23, 2020.

“Will the government say if that obligation was fulfilled? Is the CAG report the opening of a can of worms? (sic),” the former Finance Minister asked.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections last year, Congress had made the alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal an election issue, but it failed to strike a chord with the electorate.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in a report presented to Parliament on Wednesday, had said that the French fighter jet manufacturer was yet to meet the offset obligations under the deal to sell 36 medium multi-role combat aircraft to India.

“In the offset of four contracts relating to 36 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft, the vendors Dassault Aviation and MBDA initially proposed (September 2015) to discharge 30 per cent of their offset obligation by offering technology to DRDO,” the CAG said in its report.

The government auditor noted that the DRDO wanted to obtain technical assistance for indigenous development of engines (Kaveri) for the Light Combat Aircraft.

“Till date the vendor has not confirmed the transfer of this technology,” the CAG said, adding that the Defence Ministry's policy of offsets has “not yielded the desired result.”

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Published 24 September 2020, 14:35 IST

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