February 29, 2024

Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

Rafale is not government-to-government deal: Congress

The Congress on Wednesday claimed the agreement to purchase the 36 French Rafale jets was not a government-to-government deal.

Keeping up the attack over the Rafale “scam”, Congress also said the French defence major was a “non-compliant” company and the Modi government should not have entered into a deal with it.

“This is not a government-to-government deal, because no such procedure exists in France. France has never entered into a government-to-government defence deal. Moreover, it was not the French government which negotiated the deal with India.

“It was a deal between the government of India on one side and Dassault Aviation, a private entity on the other. Since the French government was not involved in the negotiations, how can it be government-to-government deal?” questioned Congress leader Kapil Sibal.

Besides saying the deal was made in gross violations of the Defence Procurement Procedure(DPP), Sibal said Dassault Aviation was a non-compliant company and as such was not entitled to be awarded the deal.

“Dassault neither gave any sovereign guarantee for the delivery of the jets nor did it offer to undertake responsibility for the jets that were to be manufactured in India. This made Dassault a non-compliant company and the Indian government cannot deal with a company which had become non-compliant,” he said.

Sibal also targeted Dassault CEO Eric Trappier for “lying”.

“Trappier says they entered into joint venture because they knew Reliance had land. But Reliance applied for land on June 16, 2015, much later to their agreement. When they entered the joint venture, they didn’t even know that Reliance was going to apply for land.

“He (Trappier) also said Dassault didn’t go with HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) because it didn’t have land. But the fact is HAL had not only applied for land it already had lot of land in the vicinity of the airport in Bengaluru.

“All of Trappier’s assertions are not true,” said Sibal on the Dassault CEO who has come out in support of the deal saying it was “clean”.

The Congress’ fresh attack came on a day when the Supreme Court reserved its judgment into a clutch of petitions questioning the Rafale deal and seeking a court-monitored probe into it.

Arguing in defence of the deal before a Chief Justice Ranjan Gogi headed bench, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal admitted before the court that there was no sovereign guarantee from the French government for the deal.

Congress has been going hammer and tongs against the ruling BJP over the deal alleging personal culpability of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the “scam”.

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