New Delhi, Aug 28 : Targeting the government on the Rafale deal, the Congress on Tuesday said even the then Foreign Secretary had no idea about it before it was announced by the Prime Minister.
Congress spokesperson Jaipal Reddy told the media that the Rafale deal was made directly by Prime Minister Modi with French President (Francois Hollande).
“Foreign Secretary (S. Jaishankar) had no idea about it until two days before the deal (April 8, 2015) was announced by PM Modi. Just two days before the contract was announced by Modi, the Foreign Secretary had announced that HAL is part of the contract with Dassault Aviation,” he added.
Reddy asked why were (the then) Defence Minister (Manohar Parrikar) and Foreign Secretary not taken into confidence.
“Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he will back the deal signed by the Prime Minister. Usually PM backs the Defence Minister. This means that even he (Parrikar) didn’t know about the deal,” said Reddy.
The former Union Minister alleged that the Rafale deal was a “brazen and a gargantuan contract”.
“Brazen because, none of the procedures were followed…gargantuan because, the difference between the UPA deal and the current deal is Rs 41,000 crore. Reliance company is disclosing the figures but the government doesn’t. How does Reliance, which has zero experience, is undertaking this offset contract?” Reddy said.
He further said Modi behaved like a medieval monarch, Louis XIV (King of France), who said “I am the State”. “Modi entered into the contract on his own”.
“Like Louis XIV, he also tried to silence the opposition voice. Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was not followed, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and the Price Negotiation Committee were not consulted. We do not know if the Air Force was consulted,” said Reddy.
He also said: “Now their defence is — prices have gone up because ‘special equipment’ have been added. However, after Modi reached an agreement with the French President, it was stated that configuration would be the same. In other words, the parameters would be the same.”
Reddy further said Modi who believed in “Make in India”, now believes in “Make Brokers in India”.
“With this contract, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s growth will be stunted. This is a great disservice to the nation. Whenever India made foreign purchase, we insisted upon transfer of technology,” said Reddy.
“We needed 126 aircraft, that was the minimal requirement. Why are they now satisfied with just 36? What will happen to the rest?” he said.
He also stated that on July 14, 2015, rival company Eurofighter wrote to the government saying it would supply the aircraft for less than 20 per cent of the price of Dassault.
“Why did the NDA government not seize the offer? We don’t question the quality, it’s about the price, the deal and transparency,” he said.