GUWAHATI, Sept 3 - Accusing the Narendra Modi-led government of lack of transparency in the Rafale deal, the Congress party today said that only a thorough probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) will succeed in bringing out the truth in the matter.
Addressing a press conference here today, All India Congress Committee general secretary and former Union minister Mukul Wasnik said the Modi government entered into the Rafale deal without following proper procedure.
He said that in September 2012 the then UPA government had called for international tenders to buy fighter jets at a cost of Rs 526 crore per fighter plane. However, as per the agreement made by the NDA government in 2015, the price has now gone up to Rs 1,670 crore per jet, Wasnik said.
Asked how the party could claim that Rs 1,670 crore is the cost of per plane when the government has not released the price details, Wasnik said that the annual report of Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of Rafale, and press releases from Reliance Defence give a clear indication of the amount.
�Let Modi government come out with complete data on the price. We are not asking the government to disclose operational details of the fighter jets,� he said.
Wasnik added that the Indian Air Force (IAF) had asked for 126 fighter jets and the previous UPA government had started the process of purchase as per the need of the IAF.
�We had also decided that any deal will involve the process of technology transfer. It was decided that 18 jets would be delivered off-the-shelf, while the rest would be manufactured in India under the technology transfer agreement by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). But later, the Modi government, after it came to power, decided to buy only 36 jets. The price of 36 jets should have come to Rs 18,940 crore but now as per the deal the government purchased the jets at a total cost of Rs 60,145 crore. Will the BJP explain the extra amount of Rs 41,205 crore paid from public money,� the Congress leader asked.
He alleged that the entire process was devoid of any transparency and rules regarding procurement and price were flouted. Wasnik said no clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security was taken before the deal was signed.
He added that HAL was not given the offset contract which was rather allotted to Reliance Defence.
�We have demanded a JPC on the issue. The Prime Minister, the Defence Minister and all responsible must answer questions,� said Wasnik, terming the entire deal as a big �scam�.
It is noteworthy that the Congress party has decided to go among the masses regarding the Rafale deal and as part of it the AICC is organizing press conferences at 90 cities and towns across India.