The Congress on Monday took another shot at the ruling government over the non-inclusion of HAL in the Rafale deal. The party posted a video of Dassault chief Eric Trappier in which he is heard praising the PSU before a gathering of officers from Indian Air Force and HAL.
The video, which was shot on 25 March 2015, shows Trappier expressing his happiness at Rafale’s selection as per the IAF’s MMRDA requirements following a stiff competition between top fighter aircraft makers from around the world.
“The choice of Rafale in 2012 was made after a demanding competition,” Trappier said, adding, “Rafale is the next logical step.”
“You can imagine my great satisfaction to hear from the IAF chief that he wants a combat proven aircraft which could be the Rafale…and on the other hand from the HAL chairman that we are in agreement for the responsibilities sharing, considering as well our conformity with the RFP [Request for Proposal] in order to be in line with the rules of this competition. I strongly believe that contract finalisation and signature would come very soon,” the Dassault chief said.
“17 days later PM Modi gave the contract to Reliance. @nsitharaman should resign for lying to the nation,” tweeted the Congress, demanding Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s resignation.
Watch Éric Trappier, Chairman @Dassault_OnAir, on 25/03/15 speak, in the presence of IAF & HAL Chiefs, about responsibility sharing on the Rafale contract. 17 days later PM Modi gave the contract to Reliance.@nsitharaman should resign for lying to the nation. #RafaleModiKaKhel pic.twitter.com/6VoIcFjPlg
— Congress (@INCIndia) September 23, 2018
It is noteworthy that on 8 April then Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had confirmed to reporters that HAL was on board. But on 10 April 2015, PM Modi, during his visit to France, announced the purchase of 36 Rafale jets at around Rs 60,000 crore after talks with then French president Francois Hollande.
While the number of fighter jets in the new deal was significantly lower than the 126 jets, the Congress maintains that the price is much higher than what was negotiated under the UPA government.
Congress has been targeting the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the deal asking how Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence became a part of Dassault’s offset requirements while the HAL was left out.
Earlier today, a 11-member Congress delegation comprising senior leaders submitted a memorandum to the Central Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary demanding the Government to disclose the price of 36 aircrafts to scrutiny by the CVC stating loss to Public Exchequer, endangering of national security and rampant corruption in connection with the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
Referring to the Rafale scam as “India’s Biggest Defence Scam”, the memorandum said the government was unforgivably guilty of compromising causing loss by a conspiracy to the public exchequer worth Rs 41,205 crore.