Imphal: Congress MP from Assam Gaurav Gogoi said Monday that the Rafale deal is a sordid saga of compromising national security and “stealing” of taxpayers’ money.
The son of former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the mega defence deal was originally signed with Dassault Aviation of France during the previous UPA government but the earlier terms were violated when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the European country in 2015. The previous deal included purchase of 126 fighter aircraft to thwart any external aggression against the country and the number was arrived at after due consideration and assessment by the Defence Ministry and the forces.
The deal also included cost of initial purchase, transfer of technology and licensed production, Gogoi said at a press conference here. However, in violation of the original deal, Modi settled for a purchase of just 36 aircraft and that too at a much higher price, he said.
Terming it as a “unique scam”, Gogoi said that the price of each jet was Rs 526 crore and that 18 jets out of the total 126 were to be bought immediately and the remaining was to be manufactured in the country with the Public Sector undertaking – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). He alleged that the deal was re-negotiated without prior consent from the Defence Ministry and the Foreign Ministry and that only 36 fighter jets were to be purchased for Rs 1,600 crore, a huge hike in prices.
“The Rafale jets were also sold to Egypt and Qatar at a much lesser price and that the country had to endure a loss of Rs 350.9 crore for each aircraft and Rs 12,632 crore for the total 36 aircraft purchased,” he said.
Modi also bypassed HAL and gave the technical know-how to a private company which has no prior experience in manufacturing fighter aircraft. He further claimed that the company was opened just 10 days prior to Modi’s visit to France.
This was a blow to the country’s defence as HAL was highly experienced and would have benefited from the technological know-how and designing of high power jets. He said that ever since Congress president Rahul Gandhi took up the issue, the NDA government has been trying to deflect the attention and started intimidating the opposition.
The private company is even serving legal notices to Congress MPs, referring to the defence offset contract that went to Reliance Defence led by Anil Ambani. He also said the re-negotiated deal is tantamount to looting of the taxpayers’ money and betrayal of the Indian Defence Forces.