The Congress on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of sabotaging country’s interest to favour his “crony capitalist friends” and claimed the agreement to purchase the 36 French Rafale jets from France was in violation of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).
Reiterating its demand for a JPC probe into the controversial deal, the opposition party also sought to know from the Prime Minister why he set a higher “benchmark price” and waived the bank guarantee or French government’s sovereign guarantee.
“The Prime Minister enhanced the benchmark price for Rafale by Euro 3 billion (Rs 22,743 crore). Why did he set a higher benchmark price of Euro 8.2 Billion (Rs 62,166 crore) from Euro 5.2 billion (Rs 39,422 )? Why did he waive the sovereign guarantee requirement,” Congress spokeperson Randeep Singh Surjewala asked at a press conference.
“The Prime Minister has gone as far as to sabotage the nation’s interests in favour of his crony capitalist friends,” he said.
The Congress leader said the only forum to investigate the acts of “omission, commission and corruption” in the “biggest defence scam” of India is to have a Joint Parliamentary Commission (JPC) probe.
Surjewala, later, in a statement said the negotiating team had a serious dispute on the fixing of benchmark price, which was referred to the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
“Parrikar as the head of Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) and the three armed forces chiefs also didn’t agree and decide on the higher benchmark price of Euro 8.2 billion (Rs 62,166 crore). DAC referred it to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by PM Modi and he in CCS accepted the higher benchmark price,” he said.
Surjewala also sought to know why National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was allowed to negotiate with the French, and not the negotiations committee of IAF and the Defence Ministry.
“Did PM Modi ask him to do so and for what reason?” he asked.