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Congress Presses BJP to Form JPC, Make Rafale Fighter Jet Price Public

Congress Presses BJP to Form JPC, Make Rafale Fighter Jet Price Public

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  4 Sep 2018 8:09 AM GMT

Rafale deal

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Sept 3: The Congress has gone all-out against the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre on the purchase of French-manufactured Rafale fighter jets. The intensity of the attack is such that the Opposition party addressed the media on it on Monday in as many as 90 cities in the country, including Guwahati.

Addressing the media at Rajiv Bhawan in Guwahati, AICC general secretary and former Union minister Mukul Wasnik said: “We demand the government to form a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) and bring all ministries and agencies involved in the shady defence deal under the inquiry. We appeal to the government at the Centre to make the price tag of the jet purchase public.”

Delving deep into the background of the deal, Wasnik said: “It was the UPA government that issued a tender in 2012 to purchase the French-manufactured Rafale fighter jets with a price tag of Rs 526.10 crore apiece. The UPA government decided to purchase 126 fighter jets – 108 through HAL and the remaining 18 through tender by itself. However, the NDA government in 2015 rejected the agreement reached between the UPA government and its French counterpart. It went for a fresh deal with France for the purchase of the same fighter jets with a price tag of Rs 1670.70 crore apiece. The Narendra Modi government decided to purchase 36 jets on the pretext of urgency. The cost of 36 jets is Rs 60,145 core which would have been Rs 18,940 crore at the rate fixed by the UPA Government. Why has the government paid Rs 41,205 crore more? If there is urgency, how come the government agrees that some of the 36 jets purchased are to arrive in India in September 2019 and the others in 2022? This is not all. The NDA government elbowed out HAL and brought Reliance Defence Ltd (RDL) to the scene for the purchase of the jets. What remains moot is that RDL was just 12-day-old when the defence purchase deal was signed.”

Bringing some serious charges against the government, Wasnik said: “Aircraft procurement provisions like clearance from the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) were violated while clinching the deal. The External Affairs and the Defence Ministries were also not taken into consideration while signing the agreement.”

Wasnik further said: “Even as the French President maintains that his government has no objection in making some clauses of the deal public if the Government of India wants so, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not making the price public.” APCC president Ripun Bora and Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia were also present at the press meet.

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