Senior Congress Leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rajeev Gowda, and party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on February 6 said that the Modi government is indulging in an unforgivable game of compromising 'National Interests' and 'National Security'.
They further said that complete non-transparency in disclosure of purchase price of aircrafts, flagrant violation of the mandatory provisions of 'Defence Procurement Procedure' & prior clearance from 'Cabinet Committee on Security', sacrificing the National Interests on 'Transfer of Technology' and blatant promotion of financial interests of 'crony capitalist friends' by Prime Minister have marred the purchase of 36 'Rafale Fighter Aircrafts' by Modi government from the 'Dassault Aviation' of France.
The leaders pointed out that Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman in a press conference publicly directed the Defence Secretary to share the purchase price of 36 Rafale Aircrafts, but that did not happen yet. The Congress said, "Tragically, Defence Minister has finally refused to disclose the purchase price in Parliament on 5th February, 2018.This itself raises serious questions on the intent and motive of Modi Government.
The Congress framed questions for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded that he answers them to the public. Here are the questions:
- What is the price per aircraft of the 36 Rafale Aircrafts being purchased by Modi government? Why are Prime Minister and Defence Minister hiding the 'purchase price'?
- Is it correct that per aircraft pricing of Rafale as per UPA negotiation comes to US$ 80.95 million (Rs.526.1 crore) as against Modi government's per aircraft negotiated price of US$ 241.66 million (Rs.1570.8 crore) as per current exchange rate? Who is responsible for 'loss to exchequer'?
- Is it also correct that Dassault Aviation have sold 12 Rafale Fighter Jets to Qatar in November, 2017 for US$ 1.3 billion i.e. US$ 108.33 million (Rs.694.80 crore) per aircraft as per current exchange rates? How is it that the price of aircrafts sold to Qatar nearly 100% cheaper than the same aircrafts sold to India?
- How did Prime Minister take a unilateral decision to buy the 36 Rafale Aircrafts by violating the mandatory 'Defence Procurement Procedure' and in absence of an inter-governmental agreement with France at that time?
- Is it not true that on the date of announcement of purchase of 36 Rafale Aircrafts by PM Modi on 10thApril, 2015; no procedure had been followed? Is it also not true that as per Defence Procurement Procedure, 2013; 'Contract Negotiations Committee' i.e. CNC and 'Price Negotiations Committee' i.e. PNC had to first make 'price discovery' followed by 'inter-governmental agreement', which would follow the announcement of purchase? Is it not true that on 10thApril, 2015; none of these had been followed?
- Why did PM Modi not take the mandatory prior approval of 'Cabinet Committee on Security' before deciding to purchase 36 Rafale Aircrafts on 10thApril, 2015?
- On 8thApril, 2015; Foreign Secretary denied any proposal regarding purchase of Rafale Aircrafts during PM Modi's visit to France two days later?
- Will Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi tell the Nation as to what transpired in 48 hours between 8thApril to 10thApril, 2015 whereby it was decided to announce purchase of 36 Rafale Aircrafts?
- Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon were both found equals on all technical requirements by Indian Air Force in pursuance of the 2007 International tender with Rafale emerging as L-1 bidder on 12thDecember, 2012?
- Is it also not correct that on 4thJuly, 2014; Eurofighter Typhoon wrote a letter to the then Defence Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley offering to reduce prices by 20%?
- Why did PM Modi and Defence Minister not take notice of this subsisting offer while deciding to buy Rafale Aircrafts on 10thApril, 2015? Should both companies, i.e. Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon, not have been asked to bid afresh through inter-governmental agreements route so as to arrive at the lowest price in favour of public exchequer? Why did PM Modi violate this?
- Why was the public sector undertaking, HAL by-passed for getting 36,000 crore worth 'offset contract' despite the work share agreement dated 13.03.2014 that had already been signed between HAL and Rafale-Dassault Aviation? Is it not correct that even the Foreign Secretary had admitted on 8thApril, 2015 that negotiations were on between Rafale and HAL? Why did PM Modi then promote the interests of a private corporate entity over a public sector undertaking?
- Why is Defence Minister misleading the Parliamentby claiming that she has no knowledge of the 'offset contract' having been awarded by Rafale-Dassault Aviation to 'Reliance Defence', although French Defence Minister met up our Defence Minister on 27thOctober, 2017 in India and proceeded to inaugurate the 'Dassault Reliance Aerospace' Manufacturing Facility in Mihan, Nagpur along with Union Cabinet Minister, Shri Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra CM, Shri Devendra Fadnavis? Is it also not correct that Reliance Company's website 'R.Infra' reflects that they are undertaking offset obligations worth 30,000 crore with Dassault Aviation for 36 Rafale Aircrafts? Why is Modi government then weaving this web of deception by claiming ignorance?
- Is it not correct that HAL is the only Indian entity which has decades of experience of building fighter aircrafts? Why has HAL been by-passed in favour of a private entity, who has zero experience of building fighter aircrafts?
- On 17th November, 2017; Defence Minister in a press conference stated that 36 Rafale Aircrafts were purchased on 'emergency basis'. What was the need to buy aircrafts on 'emergency basis' on 10th April, 2015 when 'regular purchase' had already been negotiated through an international tender on 12th December, 2012?
- Why is it that despite the 'emergency purchase' and lapse of 35 months, not a single aircraft has been delivered? How long will it take for the delivery of aircrafts? Is it not correct that Indian Air Force will not have delivery of aircrafts till end of 2019 as stated in public domain? Does it not compromise India's strategic interests?