Talking to reporters here, AICC media incharge Randeep Surjewala said,'complete non-transparency, flagrant violation of the mandatory provisions of ‘Defence Procurement Procedure’, sacrificing the National Interests on ‘Transfer of Technology’ to a government PSU ie Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and blatant promotion of financial interests of ‘crony capitalist friends’ of Prime Minister have marred the purchase of 36 ‘Rafel Fighter Aircrafts’ by Modi government from the ‘Dassault Aviation’ of France.
Modi Government is indulging in an unforgivable game of compromising ‘National Interests’ and ‘National Security’. A ‘huge Scam’ is brewing in the procurement of fighter aircraft for Indian Air Force. Grave apprehensions and claims of insurmountable loss being caused to public exchequer are in public domain with the government maintaining a conspiratorial silence.'
Mr Surjewala said that in 2007, the then UPA Government floated a tender for purchase of 126 ‘Medium Multi Role Combat Aircrafts’ (MMRCA) for Indian Air Force. Post negotiations, two aircrafts remained in reckoning i.e. ‘Rafel’ and ‘Eurofighter Typhoon’. 'On December 12, 2012 Rafel emerged as L-1 vendor with base price of 10.2 billion US Dollars (Rs.54,000 crore as per 2012 conversion rate).
Out of 126, 18 Aircraft would come in fly away condition with remaining 108 Aircraft being manufactured in India by HAL with transfer of technology. In addition, there was a 50 per cent offset clause requiring the Dassault Aviation to invest 50 per cent of the sale price by way of investment in India. Work share agreement was signed between HAL and Dassault Aviation. 70 per cent work of 108 Aircraft to be made in India was to be done by HAL and 30% by Dassault.
However, soon after the NDA Government came to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his visit to France unilaterally announced the deal for purchase of 36 Rafel Fighter Aircraft in flyaway condition without following the Defence Procurement Procedure, without inter-governmental agreement and in absence of India’s Defence Minister. However, Mr Anil Ambani, owner of Reliance Defence Limited was present in France with PM Modi.
The Modi Government signed the deal for purchase of 36 Rafel Fighter Aircraft of Dassault for 8.7 billion US Dollars as per information in public domain on September 23 2016. On October 3, 2016, Reliance Defence Limited of Anil Ambani ties up with Dassault Aviation of France for a joint venture for defence production in India.”Mr Surjewala said that Reliance Defence Limited through its subsidiary Reliance Defence and Aerospace Limited inked a joint venture with Dassault Aviation for defence production.
'The Company’s website R.Infra reflects that they are undertaking offset obligations of 30,000 crore with Dassault Aviation for 36 Rafel aircraft. This means that the total cost of 36 Rafel Aircraft being purchased by Modi government is Rs.60,000 crore,'Mr Surjewala said and asked why the Modi Government was buying 36 Rafel Aircraft at an highly inflated price compared to the originally negotiated base price by UPA Government.
Posing several questions to Prime Minister Narendra modi and the NDA Government, Mr Surjewala said, “Is it correct that UPA Government negotiated 126 Rafel Aircraft at a base price of 10.2 billion US Dollars with transfer of technology? Is it also correct that Modi government is buying 36 Rafel Aircrafts without transfer of technology for 8.7 billion US Dollars ? Does it not mean that 126 Rafel Aircrafts would have cost 30.45 billion US Dollars (without transfer of technology) at the price arrived at by Modi government?
Is it not then correct that per aircraft pricing of Rafel as per UPA negotiation comes to 80.95 million US Dollars (Rs.526.1 crore) as against Modi government’s per aircraft negotiated price of 241.66 million US Dollars (Rs.1570.8 crore) as per current exchange rate? Who is responsible for loss to exchequer? '
Mr Surjewala asked as to how did Prime Minister take a unilateral decision on buying the 36 aircraft of Dassault by-passing the mandatory ‘Defence Procurement Procedure’ and in absence of an inter-governmental agreement with France at that time?
'Why has Modi Government forgone transfer of technology for the defence acquisition ever in favour of a public sector undertaking ie HAL, more so when the former Defence Minister had publicly stated about possibility of buying more Rafel Aircraft in future?,” he asked.Mr Surjewala also asked why Modi had promoted the interests of ‘one industrial group i.e. Reliance Defence Limited, which subsequently led to the company tying up and entering into a joint venture with Dassault Aviation worth Rs.30,000 crore.
“Why was this done by Prime Minister bypassing the interests of a reputed public sector undertaking like HAL? Why has the joint venture for the biggest-ever Indian defence deal between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence Limited not gone through the proper procedure of approval by the Union Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Security and Foreign Investment Promotion Board,”he asked.(UNI)