Chidambaram demands JPC probe into Rafale deal

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Sep 2018 09:56:27


Special Correspondent,

The price of aircraft increased three times, alleges senior Congress leader

P Chidambaram, senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister, launched a frontal attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘emergency purchase’ of Rafale aircraft. “Rafale deal has raised several serious issues. If Central Government fails to give satisfactory reply to the nation, people will conclude it to be a big scam,” he said, and demanded Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the deal.

Chidambaram was addressing a press conference at Nagpur on Saturday morning. He said that Prime Minister should come clean over Rafale deal. “The people of the country want to know the price of aircraft, reasons behind three-fold increase in price as compared to that decided by UPA Government. Also, what is the reason behind emergency purchase of 36 aircraft when the company will deliver the first aircraft in September 2019 and last aircraft in 2022? How will this deal be helpful to the Indian Air Force?” he asked. The Government should explain what happened to the arrangement for transfer of technology with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and why Dassualt was not encouraged or advised to make partnership with HAL, he said.

Chidambaram claimed that Congress-led UPA Government had signed an agreement with France to purchase 126 aircraft, of which 18 aircraft would directly fly to India and remaining 108 aircraft were to be manufactured in India at HAL facility in Bangalore. The UPA had decided aircraft price at Rs 526 crores including transfer of technology to HAL. “Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) signed a fresh agreement to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft without following Defence Procurement Procedure and without taking Defence Acquisition Council into confidence. Cabinet Committee on Security also was not called by Prime Minister. He has taken unilateral decision to buy the aircraft,” he alleged.

The senior Congress leader alleged that even Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister, did not know about this deal. Dassault published annual report in which it mentioned that they signed an agreement with India to sell 36 aircraft at Rs 60,145 crore. This means that cost of one aircraft is Rs 1,670 crore. He claimed that there were no changes in configuration of aircraft.

Chidambaram called demonetisation as ‘an elegant case of money laundering’. Demonetisation has led to pressure on fiscal deficit, current account deficit, pulling out by foreign portfolio, weakening of rupee against dollar etc,
he alleged.

Vilas Muttemwar, former MP; Dr Nitin Raut, former Minister; Vikas Thakre, City Congress President; Rajendra Mulak, District Congress President; Anant Gharad, Baban Taiwade, Sheikh Hussain, Atul Londhe, Adv Abhijeet Vanjari, Umakant Agnihotri, Atul Kotecha, Adv Akshay Samarth, Prashant Dhawad and others were present at the press conference.


PC finds fault with Maoist arrests in Mah by his own government

P Chidambaram, senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister, criticised Maharashtra Police for recent arrests of Maoist sympathisers including Varavara Rao and others. He said that those arrested were ‘Left-wing activists’. “They are civil and human rights activists, writers, poets and did not indulge in any violence. The Government is trying to divert the people’s mind from its wrong policies and decisions. The police have failed to produce any evidence before any court,” he said. Replying to a question, Chidambaram also criticised the erstwhile Congress-NCP alliance’s Democratic Front (DF) Government led by Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister, for arresting ‘Left-wing supporters’ including Arun Ferreira and others during his regime.