Addressing a presser here, Ms Sitharaman said, “The decision to buy 36 Rafale aircrafts was taken following the due procedure. There was an urgent need for the acquisition of the planes for the IAF’s defence preparedness. The UPA government from 2004-2014 could not arrive on a decision to address this critical necessity of fighters for the IAF."Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having changed the entire Rafale fighter plane deal “to help a businessman”.
The Congress has been alleging that a “huge scam is brewing” in the procurement of the 36 fighter jets from France and accused the Prime Minister of promoting interests of Reliance Defence Limited.Calling the bickering over the deal as “disservice” to the armed forces, the minister also cited the urgent requirement of the Indian Air Force as the main reason for sealing the deal.
Refuting the allegations, Ms Sitharaman said the final agreement for 36 Rafale planes was signed in September, 2016, after five rounds of lengthy discussions between Indian and French sides and approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security. On Transfer of Technology (ToT), she said the acquisition was made to meet the emergency requirement, so the ToT doesn't make any sense.
On Thursday, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa had said that the government had negotiated a better deal on Rafale jets than the previous one and no overpricing was done.