New Delhi, April 7: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday yet again hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi overmulti-crore Rafale fighter jet deal. Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Rahul Gandhi issued ‘Modi Scam Alert’ and posted,”15 Billion $ fighter jet deal re-tendered. PM’s friends race to tie up STRATEGIC partners. RAFALE, 40,000 Cr. loss to exchequer was “Sayonara” money to French, so PM could re-tender contract and favour friends. (sic).”
Gandhi’s comment came in the wake of a news report which claimed that India is looking to buy more than 100 new fighter jets which were eventually expected to cost upwards of Rs 100,000 crore or about $15 billion.
However, this is not the first time Rahul Gandhi has attacked PM Modi over Rafale deal. Time and again his party had alleged irregularities in the deal for buying 36 Rafale fighter jets off-the-shelf from France, signed between the Indian and French governments.
The Opposition alleged that the fighter jets are being bought at a price higher than what was negotiated in the previous multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal under which 126 fighter jets were to be bought, and included a number of fighters being assembled in India. The Congress has also been demanding the Centre to disclose the price of the deal but the Modi-led government has always denied the request saying, “The price of the jets cannot be revealed in the interest of national security.”
Last month, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre ruled out any joint venture agreement (JVA) between public sector defence firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and French firm Dassault Aviation under the MMRCA deal for 126 Rafale fighter jets. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Bhamre had said, “Due to the inability of the government to conclude negotiations and sign the contract, there was no such agreement between Dassault Aviation and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or any other Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).”
Bhamre was replying to a question by Congress MP Vivek K. Tankha if a “JVA regarding Rafale Jet was signed between its developer, Dassault Aviation, and HAL, and was subsequently annulled”.