Congress to organise morcha on Rafale deal secrecy

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the government cannot reveal the exact deal price owing to a secrecy clause in the purchase deal

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Mumbai: The Congress would take out a morcha against the non-disclosure of the Rafale jet purchase price by the BJP-led Central government, in Mumbai on 30 July.
The forthcoming march is the part of similar protests the Congress is planning to organise across the country, senior party leaders said on Thursday.
The morcha would start from Fashion Street and conclude at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.

 

The Congress has been demanding that the government disclose the purchase price of each Rafale jet during the ongoing session of Parliament.

Addressing a press conference here, Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said the incumbent NDA government was buying the fighter jets from France at “much higher” price than the one negotiated by the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the government cannot reveal the exact deal price owing to a secrecy clause in the purchase deal.

Raising the issue aggressively, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had alleged no such clause existed, only to be contradicted by the French government.

“The government cannot hide corruption under the guise of the secrecy clause. There is no transparency in the deal as it has been done without taking anybody into confidence. There is a lot of room for suspicion,” Chavan said.

He said the people should know the exact price at which the jets are being purchased.

“Secrecy is understandable for technical details and technology transfer, but not for the price of the aircraft,” the former chief minister said.

He said the current price of the jets is “300 times higher” than the one decided upon by the erstwhile government.

“In 2012, the UPA government had fixed the deal at Rs 526 crore. We were going to get 36 Rafale jets for Rs 18940 crore.

“However, Narendra Modi government renegotiated the deal under which each fighter jet will cost Rs 1670 crore.

Moreover, India is not getting any technology transfer,” he claimed.

Chavan said the Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd (HAL) was supposed to get the work order worth Rs 30,000 crore under the UPA deal unlike in the present case, where a “private company formed ten days before the deal was inked got the contract”.

“Qatar and Egypt have also purchased Rafale jets for Rs 319.80 crore per aircraft,” Chavan claimed.

Mumbai Congress unit president Sanjay Nirupam alleged that the Rafale deal is a “scam” worth Rs 41,205 crore.