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Rafale Aircraft Cost Shot Up From Rs 670 Cr to 1,660 Cr: Bhushan
Rafale Aircraft Cost Shot Up From Rs 670 Cr to 1,660 Cr: Bhushan
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Rafale Aircraft Cost Shot Up From Rs 670 Cr to 1,660 Cr: Bhushan Accusing the Narendra Modi government of “ever-shifting statements”, claiming it is a “gross violation of mandatory procedures”, Swaraj Abhiyan founder Prashant Bhushan, along with former union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, pointed out several discrepancies in the Rafale aircraft deal on Wednesday, 8 August, at the Press Club of India in New Delhi.
Prashant Bhushan while speaking to The Quint pointed out three major issues in the Rafale deal.
1. The Number Of Aircraft Was Reduced Without Anyone’s Knowledge
“The number of aircraft were reduced from the 126 to 36 without the knowledge to the Air Force. In fact Air Force said that we need 126 Rafale aircraft. The Prime Minister unilaterally reduced the number of aircraft without anybody’s knowledge.”
2. Reliance Was Made the Offset Partner With Dassault Which Has No Experience
“Hindustan Aeronautics was removed and Reliance was brought in as offset partner. Hindustan Aeronautics is the only company which has experience in this field and the idea was that the technology is brought in the country and Hindustan Aeronautics can build in the technology in long run. But Reliance was brought in which has no experience, the company is making loss. It compromises the national security.”
Bhushan also pointed out that the Reliance Defence and Aerospace got registered just 10 days before it signed th
e Rafale contract with the French company, Dassault Aviation.
The government passed the buck to Dassault Aviation saying that they chose to go ahead with a joint-venture with Reliance Defence Ltd. But Shourie pointed out that as per law, no offset partner can be decided without the knowledge of the defence minister.
Reliance Defence and Aerospace issued a clarification on the allegations made against it on the Rafale deal saying,
No company in India, except HAL, has the experience of making fighter aircraft. If we were to follow the above logic, would that mean that we will never create any new capability beyond what exists and will continue to import more than 70% of our defence hardware? In any case, Reliance will be participating in the offset (export obligations) program through Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL). Dassault hold a 49% stake in the company and brings in its 90 years of Aerospace manufacturing experience, thereby positioning DRAL as a most qualified vendor.
Rajesh K Dhingra, CEO of Reliance Defence and Aerospace.
The Rafale Aircraft Price Was Doubled
“The price has been increased from Rs 670 crores to Rs 1,660 crores. How can the government increase the price by almost Rs 1,000 crores. And the justification that has been given is that there had been some add-ons in the aircraft, which is just a cock and bull story. As we have shown, the add-ons were there in first agreement as well.”
To substantiate the above allegation, Bhushan provided two documents. The first document stated that the Rafale aircraft price as claimed by the MoS Defence was Rs 670 crore per aircraft.
In response to a question asked in the Lok Sabha, 18 November 2016, on the acquisition of fighter aircraft, the MoS, Defence stated that,
“Inter-governmental agreement with the Government of French Republic has been signed on 23 September 2016 for purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft along with requisite equipment, services and weapons. Cost of each Rafale aircraft is approximately Rs 670 crore and all the aircraft will be delivered by April 2022.MoS Defence answer to the question on Rafale DealMoS Defence answer to the question on Rafale Deal
The second document, a press release by the Reliance Defence and Aerospace, dated 16 February 2017, shows the total price of the deal at about Rs 60,000 crores for 36 aircraft, or Rs 1,660 crore per plane. This is more than double the price of the aircraft under the earlier 126 aircraft deal.
Reliance Defence and Aerospace press release on Rafale dealAccording to the Reliance document, the price per aircraft is almost Rs 1,000 crore higher than the price quoted by the government in the Parliament on 18 November 2016.
“The Bofors was nothing compared to the Rafale scam, I can tell you as a person who covered it,” said veteran journalist and politician Arun Shourie.
The Opposition parties must relentlessly pursue the Rafale deal just as the BJP did with the Bofors deal. The entire transaction is thus a textbook case of criminal misconduct, of misuse of public office and of enriching parites at the expense of the national interest and national security.”
Arun Shourie

Shourie, who served as the Minister of Communications in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, claimed that Rafale deal is a massive scandal which jeopardises national security. “PM Narendra Modi's own core team was kept in the dark.”
Senior lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan called the deal a case of “criminal misconduct”.
Textbook case of criminal misconduct, of misuse of public office, and of enriching parties at the expense of the national interest and national security.
Prashant Bhushan

The three leaders also launched a full frontal attack on the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence, saying that the company which was “under Rs 8,000 crore in debt and had no experience in making aircraft” was given the contract rather than Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL).
Reiterating Shourie’s claims, former BJP stalwart Yashwant Sinha said, “CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) should conduct an audit of Rafale deal and submit a report within 3 months. Bofors pales into insignificance as compared to Rafale.”

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