Rafale controversy: It seems that the Rafale controversy is refusing to die down as new revelations raise their ugly heads on a regular basis. Ahead of the tabling of the CAG report on Rafale in Parliament today, a news article published by The Hindu Group has once again raised a question mark on the integrity of the defence agreement signed with the French government. On Wednesday, The Hindu publication said that the Narendra Modi government’s decision to buy 36 Rafale jets in flyaway condition was inferior to the deal proposed by the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government. Even the delivery schedule of the first fleet of 18 Rafale aircraft under the new deal was slower than the previous deal, reports said. On Monday, the same publication revealed that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre waived off anti-graft clause in the deal.
The report said the three domain experts on the seven-member Indian Negotiating Team (INT) – MP Singh, Adviser (Cost), a Joint Secretary-level officer from the Indian Cost Accounts Service, AR Sule, Financial Manager and Rajeev Verma, Joint Secretary and Acquisitions Manager (Air), had recorded their views about the lacuna in a strong note of dissent, dated June 02, 2016.
It further said the above mentioned three officials expressed serious concern over the Indian government’s acceptance of a ‘Letter of Comfort’ in lieu of a sovereign or government guarantee or bank guarantees, legal issues relating to the IGA, offset issues, and Dassault Aviation’s restrictive trade practices.
The report added that these findings are directly contrary to the two central claims made by the Indian government of a cheaper deal and faster delivery of fighter aircraft.
Earlier, the alleged Rafale scam was taken to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the pleas seeking a court-monitored probe into it. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, did not find any objections into the process for the procurement of Rafale jets.
The issue has now taken a central stage in the politics of the country with the Congress leaving no stone unturned to attack PM Modi for his alleged role in bypassing Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to benefit Anil Ambani, whose is considered close to the PM Modi.