Modi govt caused Rs 12,632 crore loss to exchequer in Rafale deal: Congress

Report Gokulan in India

The Congress on Friday alleged that the Modi government caused a loss of Rs 12,632 crore to the public exchequer in the Rafale fighter jets deal.

The principal opposition party quoted from the annual report of Dassault Aviation, manufacturers of the fighter aircraft, to allege that the company sold each jet to India at Rs 351 crore higher than those sold to Qatar and Egypt about 11 months ago.

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Randeep Singh Surjewala, and Jitendra Singh told a joint news conference that while 36 Rafale jets were sold to India at 7.5 billion euros in 2016, Qatar and Egypt got 48 aircraft at 7.9 billion euros in 2015. “This amounted to Rs 1,670.70 crore per aircraft for India and Rs 1,319.80 crore to Egypt/Qatar. There was a difference of Rs 351 crore for each aircraft,” they said.

Azad claimed that the government could have saved Rs 41,212 crore had it not cancelled the deal struck by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for 126 Rafale jets. “The government’s diversionary tactics on Rafale deal has left more questions than answers,” he said. Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of compromising on national security and interests, Azad asked why only 36 fighter jets were purchased instead of 126 jets.

However, two former IAF chiefs said it wouldn’t be fair to compare the deals French firm Dassault Aviation inked with India and Qatar/Egypt. “How do we know what package the other countries have got and what is their package…It’s like apples and oranges…there is no comparison,” said Air Chief Marshal (retired) Fali Major.

It would be wrong to compare the Indian order with another country’s contract, said Air Chief Marshal PV Naik. “The price depends on a variety of factors, including the year of contract, offset and transfer of technology, configuration of the platform, and the numbers ordered. So there’s no point comparing,” he said.

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