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India wants to know Rafale details, don't hide and conceal: Cong to govt

Congress list a series of questions for the government, including on the price, the secrecy surrounding the deal and government's silence on the issue

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

India will get the first of its 36 Rafale fighter jets in 2019

Stepping up its offensive on the Rafale deal, the on Friday posed a set of questions to the government, asking it to disclose the "purchase price" of each and details of how the agreement was reached. communications in-charge also accused the of "doublespeak" and "sacrificing" interests. He cited instances during the previous UPA when details of every defence deal were made public and placed before Parliament. "As the Modi stumbles and fumbles, hides and conceals, indulges in doublespeak, sacrifices interest and refuses to answer on loss to public exchequer, will continue to demand answers," he told reporters. He listed a series of questions for the government, including on the price, the secrecy surrounding the deal, the government's silence on the issue and alleging that prior permission of the was not taken. "What is the price per aircraft of the 36 being purchased by the Modi Did Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman not agree to share the price of in a press conference in Raksha Bhawan on November 17, 2017? Why are PM, RM & FM hiding the purchase price?" he asked. According to Surjewala, while Sitharaman refused to disclose the price on grounds of a "secrecy agreement", did not do so for reasons of "security". "Isnt a full disclosure of price of in interest? Why are two ministers of the speaking in two different voices? Who are they trying to shield? Why is the price of aircrafts shrouded in secrecy and cover-up?" he asked. Surjewala wanted to know whether the per aircraft price of Rafale, according to international bids opened on December 12, 2012, comes to USD 80.95 million (Rs 526.1 crore) as against the Modi government's per aircraft negotiated price of USD 241.66 Million (Rs.1,570.8 crore) as per current exchange rates. He also asked whether Qatar had purchased 12 Rafale fighter jets in November 2017 for USD 108.33 million per aircraft (Rs 694.80 crore), according to current exchange rates. "If this is correct, why has the Modi paid such an astronomically higher price for " According to Surjewala, Rafale and aircrafts were found equal on all technical requirements by the Did give a written offer to then on on July 4, 2014, offering to reduce prices by 20 per cent, he asked. "Why did PM Modi and then not ask both the companies to submit fresh bids through the 'inter- governmental agreement route' so as to get the lowest price in favour of India's public exchequer?" "Why was no prior permission of the taken by PM Modi? Why was the Defence Procurement Procedure violated with impunity? Why are the prime minister, and completely silent on this issue?" he went on to pose. The leader also questioned the on why Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, a PSU, was superseded for a Rs 30,000 crore 'offset contract' in favour of a private company. This was despite the fact that HAL had already signed a work share agreement on March 13, 2014 with Dassault Aviation, he said. The has denied the charge that there is a huge scam in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

First Published: Fri, February 09 2018. 19:36 IST
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