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File notings expose PM’s ‘lies’ on Rafale deal, claims Congress 

New Delhi, January 4

The Congress on Friday cited file notings of the Defence Ministry to accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lying on the Rafale fighter jet deal.

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Randeep Surjewala said they had accessed notings that showed that the PM raised benchmark price of the Rafale jet despite objections of the Defence Ministry, compromised delivery schedules, waived sovereign guarantee requirement from France for a government-to-government deal and also ignored better price offer from Eurofighter.

Surjewala said that on six counts the Defence Ministry had objected to PM on the Rafale deal.

The accusations came ahead of an expected reply to the Rafale debate in the Lok Sabha by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Congress said, “PM increased the ‘Benchmark Price’ from €5.2 billion to €8.2 billion even when the Defence Ministry file clearly records the objections on the enhancement of ‘Benchmark Price’. Why did Prime Minister in CCS increase the original ‘Benchmark Price’ from €5.2 billion (39,422 cr) to €8.2 billion (62,166 cr)? Who is responsible for this loss of exchequer?”

The Congress said PM Modi waived the ‘Advance and Performance Bank Guarantee and Sovereign Guarantee’. 

“Objections on the Defence Ministry file read ‘No Advance & Performance Bank Guarantee has been obtained from Dassault Aviation and the advance payments made prior to delivery are not secured,’ Surjewala said.

He said PM Modi ignored that the ‘Maintenance Terms & Conditions’ in the 36 Rafale deal were inferior to the 126 MMRCA Rafale bid.

Notings on the file read “the Maintenance Terms and Conditions including PBG (Performance Based Guarantee) of 36 Rafale IGA was not better than that of 126 MMRCA bid, the Congress said.

The party said PM Modi proceeded despite delivery delays.

“Importantly, the objections on the file read “The delivery schedule of 36 Rafale IGA was not better than that of 126 MMRCA bid.” This directly impacted India’s strategic and national security interests,” said Azad.

Surjewala said Modi compromised the interest of public exchequer by ignoring the discounted offer of Eurofighter.

“Objections on the Defence Minister file read that the 20 per cent discount offer of EADS in 126 MMRCA tender was ignored,” Surjewala said, accusing Modi of paying a higher price for Rafales for India compared to Qatar and Egypt.

“Objections on the file read—as per the prices reflected in Dassault’s financial results, it has sold Rafale at a cheaper rate to Qatar and Egypt as compared to India,” the Congress said.

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