Ghulam Nabi Azad corners Central Govt on Rafale deal, media freedom

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Sep 2018 12:47:24



Staff Reporter


As Chhattisgarh is warming up to the legislative election senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad gave a boost to the Congress’s campaign by launching a fierce attack on the Central Government on the Rafale fighter jet deal and media freedom.

In a press conference on Thursday, Azad cried out against the alleged curb on the media freedom in Delhi, saying the Central Government exercise micro-management to control each and every word that is to be published/telecast or broadcast.

Union Government has muffled the voice of media in Delhi as now Congress has to hold hundreds of conferences for conveying a message across the nation from Delhi, which only required just one conference at the time of their Government.

Even Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) news ran for many days at that time when even their news wasn’t even getting that much air time or space on media.

Once done with media issue, Azad finally began firing shots on BJP over the Rafale's. He termed it as the biggest defense deal scam since the Independence. He claimed that when United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government opened the tender, it was French company Dassault, which emerged as lowest bidder and asserted that the deal was struck at Rs 526 crore per unit while completely forgetting that Rahul Gandhi had quoted four different prices in his four different speeches at separate places.

Azad accused BJP of compromising the security of the nation by lessening the number of fighter jets from 126 to 36 even while conveniently overlooking the recently floated proposal by the Union for procurement of 110 additional fighter jet.

Senior leader said UPA deal had provisions of Technology Transfer, which the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has scrapped. In 2015, Prime Minister during his France visit went against all expectation and finalized the Rafale Jet deal even after denying that there is no such agenda. He only struck deal for 36 units instead of 126.

Going further, Azad even questioned as to why Government snatched the contract from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and gave to Reliance Naval and Engineering Company, which, according to him, was founded after the tender was floated, while completely looking the fact that Reliance Defense and Engineering Company was originally founded as Pipavav Shipyard, Gujarat in 1997 as a subsidiary of SKIL Infrastructure and was merely renamed

in 2016.Azad even gave circulatory answer to The Hitavada’s query on lowest price per unit of the jet as paid by India in comparison to Qatar or Egypt. He also raised objection as to why PM didn’t consult the Cabinet Committee before the deal
was struck.