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There was no Rafale deal under UPA: defence ministry sources

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The original deal to procure 126 fighter jet could not go through during the UPA rule despite reaching the final stage as the then A K felt there was something wrong in the process and asked for a review, defence ministry sources claimed.

The sources talked about Antony's intervention while asserting that there was no deal arrived at during the UPA regime to procure 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA).

The has been ramping up attack on the government over the issue, claiming that the deal negotiated under its rule was much cheaper then the contract signed by the Modi government to procure 36 fighter jets from at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore.

The sources said Antony's apprehensions may have been genuine and he may have had bonafide reasons for such an intervention. The price negotiating committee was at that time examining the deal after initially getting approval for it from the then

The sources also said that the Typhoon had offered to bring down their prices by 25 per cent after was declared L1 vendor.

"Such a proposal after declaring the winning bidder was not at all acceptable as per laid down procedure. You cannot do that," said a source.

Alleging a "scam", the opposition has been asking the government 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.

The floated a tender in 2007 for purchase of 126 MMRCA for the and, post negotiations, two of them--Rafale and Typhoon -- remained in the reckoning.

However, the deal could not be finalised by the UPA regime.

Asked why NDA government did not go for Typhoon as it had offered a 25 per cent price cut, the sources said several European countries were involved in manufacturing of Eurofighter and was preferred for the inter- governmental deal.

The had also claimed that had purchased 12 Rafale fighter jets in November 2017 for USD 108.33 million per aircraft (Rs 694.80 crore), noting that the per aircraft rate at which the Gulf nation is buying the jet is much lower than the rate at which will procure them.

The sources said the rates cannot be compared as price depended on the weapons package.

In a detailed statement, the defence ministry had on Wednesday termed as "unfounded" allegations made by the Congress about the Rs 58,000-crore deal, asserting that the demand to disclose details such as its value was "unrealistic" as doing so might compromise India's national security.

It had said giving an item-wise cost and other information would reveal details about and customisation of the jet.

The ministry had said that in 2012, the then defence minister exercised an unprecedented personal veto on the laid down institutional process then underway for the procurement of 126 jets.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 10 2018. 20:45 IST