'Karnataka lost Rs 1.60 lakh crore from Rafale deal'

'Karnataka lost Rs 1.60 lakh crore from Rafale deal'

AICC National Media Panelist Jaiveer Shergill speaks to reporters in Mangaluru on Monday.

All India Congress Committee National Media Panelist Jaiveer Shergill charged that Karnataka has lost Rs 1.60 lakh crore due to Rafale deal and it has affected the Make in India and employment generation in the state.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, he said the public sector undertaking HAL had entered into a work share agreement in 2014 with Rafale Dassault Aviation worth Rs 36,000 crore for offset contract during the UPA tenure. However, after the announcement of the unilateral purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft by Prime Minister Modi in France on April 10, 2015, the HAL was bypassed. The offset contract worth Rs 30,000 crore was given to a private Company— Reliance Defence Ltd, he alleged.

“Why was the state-owned HAL, which was involved in the original deal, kept away in the fresh deal? Why was the offset contracts Reliance that has zero experience in aircraft building? Further, the Reliance Defence Ltd now also claims to have secured an additional Rs 1 lakh crore of Lifecycle Cost Contract over and above Rs 30,000 crore offset contract. Had the Rafale fighter aircraft been manufactured by HAL, a PSU, the life cycle cost contract would have automatically gone to HAL,” he said.

He asked why was the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) completely violated in the deal? Why were the Contract Negotiation Committee and the Price Negotiation Committee not consulted before the deal? Why was the Cabinet Committee on Security totally ignored? Modi should answer these questions so that the country knows what actually happened in the deal, he said.

Why did Prime Minister Modi reduce the number of fighter aircraft required for Indian Air Force from 126 to 36? First of the 36 Rafales will come in September 2019 and the last aircraft by 2022, eight years after the decision to purchase in April 2015. With threats looming large from China and Pakistan, does it not compromise national security and defeat the emergency purchase argument, he sought to know.

The deal is a loss of Rs 42,000 crore taxpayers’ money. Instead of wasting the taxpayers’ money, the BJP could have allotted it to the defence budget, he said.

The Congress will not rest till BJP government answers on Rafale deal. “I have been served a notice asking not to speak on Rafale deal. If there is any secrecy to be maintained as per Indo-French agreement of 2008, then the BJP government should serve notice to Anil Ambani for disclosing the price of Rafale through a press release,” he said.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who behaved arrogantly during her visit to Kodagu has changed her statements on Rafale deal thrice. “Let her display her arrogance she displayed with the Karnataka Minister with regard to Rafale deal as well,” he remarked.

To a question on “One Nation and One Election” concept, Shergill dared the prime minister to dissolve all the state assemblies and hold an election and the Congress is ready for it.

He said “One Nation and One Election” sounds a death knell for cooperative federalism and is against the basic structure of the Constitution. It is an attempt by the BJP to divert the attention of the public, he charged.

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