Cong lists questions on Rafale for Govt, says India seeks answers

NEW DELHI
9 Feb 2018

Stepping up its offensive on the Rafale deal, the Congress today posed a set of questions to the government, asking it to disclose the "purchase price" of each fighter aircraft and details of how the agreement was reached.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala also accused the government of "doublespeak" and "sacrificing" national interests. Surjewala cited instances during the previous UPA government when details of every defence deal were made public and placed before Parliament. "As the Modi government stumbles and fumbles, hides and conceals, indulges in doublespeak, sacrifices national interest and refuses to answer on loss to public exchequer, India will continue to demand answers," he told newspersons.

Surjewala listed a series of questions for the government, including on the price, the secrecy surrounding the deal, the government's silence on the issue and alleging that prior permission of the Cabinet Committee on Security was not taken. "What is the price per aircraft of the 36 Rafale aircrafts being purchased by the Modi government? Did Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman not agree to share the price of Rafale aircrafts in a press conference in Raksha Bhawan on November 17, 2017? Why are PM, RM & FM hiding the purchase price?" the Congress spokesperson asked.

According to Surjewala, while Sitharaman refused to disclose the price on grounds of a "secrecy agreement", Union finance minister Arun Jaitley did not do so for reasons of "national security".  "Isn’t a full disclosure of price of Rafale aircrafts in national interest? Why are two ministers of the government speaking in two different voices? Who are they trying to shield? Why is the price of aircrafts shrouded in secrecy and cover-up," he raised question.

Surjewala wanted to know whether the per aircraft price of Rafale, according to international bids opened on December 12, 2012, comes to USD 80.95 million (Rs 526.1 crore) as against the Modi government's per aircraft negotiated price of USD 241.66 Million (Rs.1,570.8 crore) as per current exchange rates.