Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit back at Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for terming his party’s Rafale deal corruption allegations as “Shameful”.
Rahul Gandhi, who is likely to be elevated to Congress party’s President Post on Monday, said “shameful” was her boss “silencing” her.
Earlier on Friday, Sitharaman had said that the allegations relating to the procurement deal for 36 Rafale fighter jet by Congress were “shameful".
Rahul Gandhi asked Sitharaman to tell the public the final price of each Rafale fighter jet and whether PM Modi took prior permission from Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) before announcing the purchase deal in Paris.
Rahul also asked the Defence Minister to explain that “Why PM bypassed experienced HAL & gave the deal to AA rated businessman with no defence experience.”
Dear RM, what’s shameful is your boss silencing you. Please tell us :— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) November 18, 2017
1. Final price of each Rafale jet?
2. Did PM take CCS permission before announcing purchase in Paris?
3. Why PM bypassed experienced HAL & gave the deal to AA rated businessman with no defence experience?
The Congress party had accsued Modi government of compromising national interest and security over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal.
Surjewala said the UPA government floated a tender on August 20, 2007 for purchase of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for the Air Force and, post negotiations, two of them—Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon remained in the reckoning.
On December 12, 2012, Rafale was declared L1 vendor, the bidder whose quotation is the lowest, with base price of USD 10.20 billion (Rs 54,000 crore according to the conversion rate prevalent then).
It was decided that of the 126 aircraft, 18 would come in fly away condition and the remaining 108 will be manufactured in India by HAL with transfer of techonology, he said.
After the Modi government was formed in May 2014, Surjewala said, the earlier Request for Proposal (RFP) for purchase of 126 aircraft was cancelled on July 30, 2015, and signed a deal on September 26 the next year for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets for USD 8.7 billion.