The Congress party on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Central Vigilance Commissioner stating loss to Public Exchequer, endangering of national security and rampant corruption in connection with the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.
A 11-member delegation comprising senior leaders — Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Jairam Ramesh, Abhishek Singhvi, Manish Tiwari, Vivek Tankha, Parmod Tiwari, and Pranav Jha submitted the memorandum to the Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary demanding the Government to disclose the price of 36 aircrafts to scrutiny by the CVC.
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.
The memorandum also called for urgent intervention by the CVC into the alleged corruption by the BJP government. It also termed the Defence Procurement Procedure as an instance of ‘stark crony capitalism that needed to be investigated’.
“The denial of ‘Make in India’ as also ‘Transfer of Technology’ to the PSU, HAL is intriguing and reeks of a concerted conspiracy,” it further read.
It said, “The ‘shoddy cover-up’, the ‘self-defeating assertions’ and the ‘deliberate lies’ had exposed the scam in the purchase of 36 Rafale Fighter Jets”.
Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress said in its memorandum that the PM had violated the mandatory ‘Defence Procurement Procedure’ while announcing the ‘Rafale Deal’ on 10th April 2015.
As per the memorandum, the then Foreign Secretary, S Jaishankar had stated that the prime minister was not be involved in the purchase of Rafale jets as the issue was of a technical nature.
Further, the memorandum stated that PM Modi got a Rs 30,000 Crore ‘Offset Contract’ for Reliance Defence by sacrificing ‘Make in India’ and ‘Transfer of Technology’ to India.
“In a classic case of ‘crony capitalism’, PM Narendra Modi ensured that a Rs 30,000 Cr worth ‘offset contract’ was given to Reliance Defence Limited- a private company with zero experience of manufacturing fighter aircraft,” it said.
Startling revelations by the then French President, Francois Hollande have exposed the web of corruption, it said.
It also attacked Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for “trying to tarnish Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)”, a nationally and internationally reputed Public Sector Undertaking.
Hollande, who left office in May last year, said on Friday during a trip to India that French jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation had been given no choice about its local partner in a 2016 deal with the Indian administration.
The Narendra Modi government agreed to buy 36 Rafale jets from Dassault, which announced afterward it was partnering for the project with billionaire Anil Ambani rather than India’s public defence conglomerate HAL.
Hollande’s announcement that Dassault Aviation “did not have a say in it” added fuel to claims from India’s opposition that the New Delhi government had intervened to help Ambani.
The Congress has been accusing massive irregularities in the deal, alleging that the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government when it was negotiating procurement of 126 Rafale jets.