The Congress Party continued its attack on PM Modi-led government over the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets and accused them for “compromising” the national security and causing a loss of Rs 12,632 crore to the state exchequer.
Quoting from the annual report of Dassault Aviation, makers of the fighter aircraft, the Congress party alleged that the company sold each jet to India at Rs 351 crore higher than those sold to Qatar and Egypt 11 months ago.
Modi Govt is unforgivably guilty of compromising ‘National interest’ & ‘National Security’. Shoddy ‘cover-up’, ‘self-defeating assertions’ & ‘deliberate lies’ are being dished out to ‘divert’, ‘dupe’ & ‘deceive’, said Surjewala in a tweet.
Modi Govt is unforgivably guilty of compromising ‘National interest’ & ‘National Security’. Shoddy ‘cover-up’, ‘self-defeating assertions’ & ‘deliberate lies’ are being dished out to ‘divert’, ‘dupe’ & ‘deceive’.
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) March 9, 2018
Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Randeep Surjewala said while 36 Rafale jets were sold to India at 7.5 billion Euros in 2016, 48 jets were sold to Qatar and Egypt at 7.9 billion Euros in 2015.
This amounted to Rs 1,670.70 crore per aircraft for India and Rs 1,319.80 crore to Egypt/Qatar. There was a difference of Rs 351 crore for each aircraft, the party claimed.
Azad asserted that had the Modi government not cancelled the deal struck by the UPA dispensation for 126 Rafale jets, it could have saved Rs 41,212 crore.
Surjewala said the deal was also made in absence of prior clearance from Cabinet Committee on Security, thus sacrificing the national interest and bypassing Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on the Rs 36,000 crore ‘offset contract’ in favour of a private entity with no defence manufacturing experience.
“Grave apprehensions and claims of insurmountable loss being caused to public exchequer stand exposed as the government refuses to state the truth. A huge scam is brewing in procurement of fighter aircrafts for the Indian Air Force, yet the Modi government remains opaque, intransient, obscure and obstinate,” the Congress leaders alleged.
On Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress of “seriously compromising India’s security”.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gave a powerful rebuttal in the Parliament to the charges of wrongdoing against the BJP-led NDA government in the Rafale deal.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, Jailtley addressed former law minister Veerappa Moily saying, “The new act (of the Congress) is ‘let us manufacture an allegation of corruption against the NDA’. So you raise the Rafale deal.”
Jaitley presented before the Parliament responses of Pranab Mukherjee and AK Antony from the time when they were defence ministers as examples of how the UPA, too, never disclosed details of purchase.
“It is in larger interest of India’s security that a price which discloses the specific details of the weapon is never disclosed. When you disclose the details, you are giving details of the weapon system and its capacity to the enemy,” he said.
Jaitley read out two responses from 2005 and 2007 by Mukherjee and Antony, respectively, in which they had maintained that any details of government purchase of arms and expenditure are classified in nature.
(With agency inputs)