Continuing his attack on prime minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that Mr Modi personally increased benchmark price of Rafale jets by 3 Billion Euros (₹22,743).
”Another RAFALE Skeleton! Mr Modi personally increased the benchmark price of RAFALE jets by 3 Billion Euros. The former Director of Finance, MOD, just said that he and the negotiating team were overruled by Mr 56,”Rahul said in a tweet.
Earlier on Thursday, the Congress came out with fresh revelations which said that PM Modi overruled objections by the price negotiation committee, the Defence acquisition council and the then Defence Minister and personally increased benchmark price of Rafale jets by 3 Billion Euros.
Rahul often refers to the Prime Minister as “Mr 56”, following the latter’s infamous “56-inch chest” comment at a BJP rally in UP’s Gorakhpur. Modi had said that it would take a “chhappan inch ki chhati (56-inch chest)” to convert UP into Gujarat while campaigning for 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Earlier in the day, Rahul had raked up Centre’s admission to the Supreme Court that there was no “sovereign guarantee by the French government backing the deal”.
“The latest skeleton to tumble out of the RAFALE cupboard: NO Guarantee by the French Govt. backing the deal. BUT, our PM says there’s a letter from the French promising to be faithful! That’s enough to call this a “Govt to Govt” deal?,” tweeted Gandhi along with hashtag #BikGayaChowkidar
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will hear a fresh petition against the Rafale deal between India and France on Wednesday. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph Monday said it will hear the petition filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda, who is seeking a direction to the centre to reveal details of the deal and the comparative prices during the UPA and NDA rule in a sealed cover to the top court.
The petition also sought information about the contract given to Reliance by Dassault.
Advocate M L Sharma’s plea, filed earlier, alleging discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and seeking a stay on it will also come up for hearing on October 10.
Mr Sharma claimed in his petition that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an “outcome of corruption” and not ratified by parliament under Article 253 (parliament has power to make any law for implementing any inter-government agreement) of the Constitution.
A similar petition was filed in the top court in March this year seeking an independent probe into the Rafale deal and disclosure of the cost involved in the deal before Parliament.
The petition, filed by Congress leader Tehseen S Poonawalla, had sought a direction against the centre on why the Union Cabinet’s approval was not sought as part of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) before signing the procurement deal with France on September 23, 2016.
Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between the governments of India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in a fly-away condition as a part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment.
The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.
Indian Air Force had advanced a proposal to buy 126 fighter aircraft in August 2007 and floated a tender. Following this, an invitation was sent to various aviation companies to participate in the bidding process.