State

Supreme Court misled by Centre on Rafale: Selja

‘Deal costs the nation Rs 41205 crore more, HAL overlooked for a defunct company’

Rajya Sabha member and Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Kumari Selja claimed that the Supreme Court (SC) had been misleading by the Narendra Modi- helmed NDA Government regarding the controversial Rafale aircraft deal case. “It is clear now that wrong facts have been provided to the apex court,” she added. However, she steered clear of whether her party would move the apex court, seeking a review of its ruling which gave a clean chit to the Centre. While taking a swipe at the Centre, she said that things are clearly pointing to colossal corruption. She buttressed her point by citing the para 25 of apex court judgment. “It mentioned that the report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Rafale deal should be scrutinised by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament and it should be made public. However, the fact is that there is no CAG report on Rafale. PAC chairman Mallikarjun Khadge has clarified that no such report was placed before PAC by CAG,” she said. Giving another example of the apex court being provided with wrong inputs, the Congress leader said that the para 32 and 30 of the judgement mentioned that the deal for offset contract between Reliance and Dassault Aviation was struck in 2012. “This is again wrong as Reliance Defence Limited came into existence in March 28, 2015 barely 13 days before Prime Minister’s Paris visit during which he declared that India was purchasing Rafale fighters,” she said. She further said that as per the SC order, no special consideration for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had been made in the deal which again is incorrect. “On March 13, 2014, a work share agreement between HAL and Dassault was inked for implementation offset contract,” she said. She cited another point to strengthen her argument. “Contrary to the SC observation that Defence Acquisition Council ( DAC) gave its nod for the deal, the DAC permission was given a month after Modi Government made a declaration for the purchase of aircraft,” she said. “Now, it is crystal clear from the facts being given here that the apex court was misled by the Centre,” she affirmed. Continuing with her attack on the Centre vis-a-vis the SC ruling, Kumari Selja claimed that a loss to the tune of Rs 41205 crore to Government exchequer has incurred in the deal as on the basis of International Bid. Notably,  then UPA Government in 2012 took a decision to buy Rafale fighter for Rs 526.10 crore a piece. The Modi Government purchased the same aircraft for Rs 1670.70 crore a piece which means that the country  has incurred a loss of over Rs 41000 crore,” she said. Questioning the intent behind the decision to give precedence to the Reliance Defence Limited-a 13-day-old company-over the 40-year-old public sector undertaking,  HAL, Selja said that the Modi Government should explain why Rs 30,000 crore offset contract had been given to Reliance. Continuing her diatribe on the Modi Government, she said that Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) had been blatantly overlooked by the Government. She said that the Government had also sidelined necessary clearance from Defence Acquisition Council ( DAC) and Cabinet Committee on Security. “Barely two days before PM’s France visit, Indian foreign secretary said on April 8, 2015 that the proposal to purchase Rafale aircraft had been rejected. Would the PM explain to the nation as to what had happened in the 48 hours that he took a hurried decision to purchase 36 Rafale aircrafts?”  She alleged that apart from reducing the number of aircrafts from 126 to 36 and putting the security of the country in peril, the Government  had even sacrificed the mandatory transfer of technology clause and done away with sovereign guarantee in the deal. On the money trail of the deal, the Congress leader questioned intention behind the decision of Dassault Aviation to purchase 2484000 shares of Reliance Airport Developers limited on a mindboggling premium of 11000 percent in Rs  284 crores. “A share of the defunct company (with a turnover of mere Rs 8 lakh) was priced at only Rs 10 and it was purchased at Rs 1154 by Dassault. Was its first installment of the corruption money?” she questioned.

Congress for JPC probe

The CWC member Selja said that the Congress wants a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) be constituted to probe the Rafale deal. “Congress remains consistent in its stand from the beginning that Supreme Court (SC) is not a proper forum on the issue and the court too supported this stance. “The Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been consistently asking questions from Narendra Modi both within the Parliament and outside. But PM has been keeping a stony silence,” she said. Read more posts… Thursday, 20 December 2018 | PNS | Dehradun

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