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Rafale deal violates Official Secrets Act: Anand Sharma


ANI New Delhi (India)
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Wednesday claimed that the Rafale deal violated the Official Secrets Act, adding that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's claim that offset had nothing to do with the Rafale contract does not hold water.
"For him (Jaitley) to say offset is not part of the contract is wrong. Defence procurement policy is very clear. A vendor has to notify how offset liability will be discharged. DPP says it has to be defence PSU with experience in the sector, so only HAL had that, it also says that for offset discharge that it could be DRDO or ordnance factories of India or joint manufacture of defence platform through FDI in services and technology and manufacturing, all these four were not respected, there is a violation of the Official Secrets Act. There was no mandate from the cabinet community on security. Is the Finance Ministry trying to say that UPA was buying the aircraft for show?" he told ANI.
Sharma further accused the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of buying fighter jets at Rs 11,000 crore more than that of Egypt and Qatar, who, he said, bought the same aircraft with the exact specification as India.
"We have not asked for detail, neither has Rahul Gandhi, but even by their argument, the same year, two countries bought the same aircraft and with the same specification. Egypt bought 24 aircraft, Qatar purchased 24 aircraft and India purchased 36, in France, you cannot hide it and Dassault's mandatory filing discloses the price. India bought each aircraft at almost Rs 340 crore more per unit (which means) Rs 11,000 crore more than what would have been, had we made the same offer as Egypt. Is the government going to say that Egypt and Qatar bought toy aircraft?" he asked.
Sharma's statement came after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that offsets had nothing to do with the Rafale contract, as the agreement was made between two countries, India and France.
"Offset has nothing to do with this contract. There are hundreds of offsets in India. The government will purchase 36 fully-loaded aircraft coming all the way from France, manufactured in France, no private party involved. The government of India's role ends there. Under a policy devised by the UPA, every defence supplier (original equipment manufacturer or OEM) has to undertake some offsets. Purchases have to be made from India equivalent to about 30 per cent of the total contract value. Who will he make purchases from? He selects his own partners. Those purchases have nothing to do with Rafale or these aircraft. He could be buying guns, pistols, binoculars or some spare parts. For this purpose, not only Rafale but every defence manufacturer has to enter into offset contracts," he told ANI.

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First Published: Aug 29 2018 | 7:05 PM IST

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