NEW DELHI: On a day French President Emmanuel Macron arrived, the Congress upped the ante over the Rafale jet deal and accused PM Narendra Modi of compromising national security by purchasing 36 aircraft at three times the price agreed upon during the previous UPA government.Citing the 2016 annual report of French manufacturer Dassault Aviation, the Congress said that while the price of 48 aircraft (24 each to Egypt and Qatar) was shown as Euro 7.9 billion, the cost of 36 aircraft sold to India was mentioned as Euro 7.5 billion.
This meant price per aircraft sold to Egypt and Qatar was Rs 1,319.80 crore as compared to Rs 1,670.70 crore per aircraft charged from India.“We are clearly paying an extra price of Rs 350.90 crore per aircraft or Rs 12,632 crore for 36 aircraft,” Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad said. “Is it correct that per aircraft pricing of Rafale as per bid dated December 12, 2012 during UPA government comes to Rs 526.1 crore as against Modi government’s per aircraft purchase price of Rs 1,670.70 crore.”
Rafale sold the jets to Egypt and Qatar in 2015 while India signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France on September 23, 2016. Noting the object of the IGA was to ensure that India gets the lowest price of Rafale aircraft in comparison to every other buyer, the Congress questioned its sanctity.
“As Qatar/Egypt got lower price, it puts very sanctity of IGA into question,” said Azad, who was accompanied by former junior defence minister Jitendra Singh.
The Congress wondered why Modi was hiding the price of the aircraft and why did he violate the mandatory ‘Defence Procurement Procedure’ on April, 10, 2015 while announcing off-the-shelf purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft and did not follow the price discovery through ‘Contract Negotiation Committee’ and ‘Price Negotiation Committee’.
It also asked why public sector HAL was by-passed for getting Rs 30,000 crore worth ‘offset contract’ despite the work share agreement with Dassault Aviation dated March 13, 2014 and why was HAL superseded in favour of a private company which had zero experience of manufacturing fighter aircraft.
Both Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon were found equal on all technical requirements. “On July, 4, 2014; Eurofighter Typhoon wrote to the then Defence Minister offering to reduce prices by 20 per cent. Once PM Modi decided to purchase the aircraft afresh, should both Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon not have been asked to bid afresh through IGA route for arriving at the lowest price?” Azad asked.
The Rafale Saga
In 2015, PM Narendra Modi announced India will buy 36 Rafale fighter jets off-the-shelf from Dassault
Price per aircraft sold to Egypt and Qatar was H1,319.80 cr as compared to H1,670.70 cr per aircraft charged from India
Rafale sold the jets to Egypt, Qatar in 2015 while New Delhi signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement with Paris on Sept 23, 2016