Silchar: As a part of its all India strategy to hit out at the NDA government led by Narendra Modi just on the eve of Parliamentary elections, Congress has quite diplomatically picked up the Rafale deal entered into with the government of France.
At a press meet held at Rajiv Bhawan conference hall here on Saturday, Deepa Dasmunsi, MP and in-charge, publicity for Assam on the Rafale issue exclusively, described the agreement between government of India and France as an unholy deal where attempts have been made to save a private defence company of the country.
In fact, in November 2016, a serious controversy cropped up over the Rafale deal when Congress accused the government of causing heavy loss of tax payers’ money by entering into an agreement worth Rs.60,145 crore. Deepa Dasmunsi also claimed that the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence Limited had been unfairly picked to be the French firm’s Indian partner. Elaborating on the hotly debated issue, she said UPA government took the decision to purchase 18 Rafale direct and it was further decided that 108 fighter planes would be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
She further revealed each Rafale fighter would then cost Rs.526.10 crore. It was most unfortunate that the decision taken by the UPA government was changed by the NDA when it came to power. The agreement with France was cancelled. Modi government took the decision to have 36 Rafale from France through Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Limited. The price of one fighter plane skyrocketed to Rs.1670 crore, more than three times of the UPA deal. Could there be any justification for such an irrational agreement with France, Deepa Dasmunsi asked?
According to her Rafale is the biggest scam of Modi government. In order to articulate and air the deep resentment of Congress party and that of the people of India, her party has planned to organize nationwide protest demonstration. The message will be for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to come clean on the issue and clarify all about the Rafale deal in the next session of Parliament. Deepa Dasmunsi claimed that four months ago, Defence Minister of France Jean Yves Le Drian and Nirmala Sitharaman as well as Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, laid the foundation stone of Ambani Reliance Defence Limited.
Amusingly, with all its expertise in the manufacture of fighter aircrafts, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was put on the back burner. What could be the reason behind the overnight floating of Anil Ambani Reliance Defence Limited, Deepa Dasmunsi questioned? She added to say Ambani’s Reliance Defence Limited is heavily debted to government of India with an outstanding amount of Rs.3000 crore. She also shared the information that government of India has extended an amount of Rs.30,000 crore to Reliance Defence Limited in order to bail it out from financial crisis. Through the uncalled for deal, Ambani concern would benefit by Rs.1,30,000 crore.
Repeating the charge of it being the biggest financial scandal of NDA government, Congress has been pressing for JPC inquiry in order to bring out the facts. But, NDA has been turning down Congress demand. Finding no way out, she said, “We have come to people’s court for justice.” The latest information is that French Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian is set to arrive at New Delhi on September 22 along with CEOs of Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA to seal the 7.87 billion Euros deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets. Defence sources said if all goes well, the Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) will be signed on September 23. At the press meet were also present Ripun Bora, state Congress president, Debabrata Saikia, opposition leader and MP Sushmita Dev.