No question of scrapping Rafale deal, will wait for CAG report, says Arun Jaitley
Rebutting allegations surrounding the Rafale deal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the deal is clean and will not be cancelled. In an interview to ANI, Jaitley said that it is for the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to examine whether the planes were bought at a higher price or not. He asserted that the Rafale fighter jets are being purchased at a cheaper rate than what has been negotiated by the UPA government and all these facts and figures will be placed before CAG for consideration.
“Fortunately, there is pricing, and for security interest, that pricing can’t be disclosed in detail. But I have come as close to this. If you take a weaponised aircraft as of 2007, add the same two things to it again and bring it to 2016 level, the 2016 level is 20 per cent cheaper. Now the CAG will go into pricing. They may not eventually disclose it, but about being 9 per cent and 20 per cent cheaper or not, they are looking into it. Congress has submitted a memorandum. The truth will come out,” Jailtey said during the ANI interview.
During the interview, Jaitley raised fingers on how Hollande’s comment came only days after Rahul Gandhi’s cryptic tweet which warned of some big revelation regarding the Rafale deal in coming weeks.
“I think he (Rahul Gandhi) is in some kind of a revenge mode. I won’t be surprised if the whole thing is being orchestrated. On August 30, why did he (Rahul) tweet “Just wait for a while, some bombs are going to be burst in Paris”? And then what happens is in perfect rhythm with what he predicted,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley connected Hollande’s statement on September 21 stating that the French government was asked to choose Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence for the Rafale deal with a tweet by Congress president Rahul Gandhi which warned of ‘some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks’ regarding the deal.
Rahul Gandhi had tweeted on August 31: “Globalised corruption. This #Rafale aircraft really does fly far and fast! It’s also going to drop some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks. Modi Ji please tell Anil, there is a big problem in France,” the Congress president had said in the tweet.
On September 21, Hollande told French journal Mediapart that the Reliance Defence was proposed as Offset partner by the Indian government and the French government had no say in it. However, Hollande backtracked soon after and told international news agency AFP in Canada that he did not know whether Dassault was pressurised by the Indian government to work with Reliance and “only Dassault can comment on this”.
Meanwhile, Dassault Aviation and the French government refuted Hollande’s claims that the Rafale making company was forced by the Indian government to work with Reliance Defence as an Offset partner in the contract. While Dassault has said that its association with Reliance Defence is in accordance to the Make in India policy, both Indian and French governments have said that the aviation company has selected Anil Ambani’s company of its own accord.
“The offset contract ensures investment by the original equipment supplier i.e. Dassault Aviation, in India, in as much as they make purchases from Indian companies to the extent of fifty percent (in this case). The choice of the offset partner under the 2005 offset policy is of M/s Dassault Aviation and they have selected several public and private sector companies to make the supplies.” Jaitley said.