Is there a Rafale Scam? Who is lying? Modi or Rahul?
To replace 244 aged MiG-21 fighters of IAF, a case to procure 126 Mirage-2000 jets was initiated in 2000. After a 7-year delay, in Aug 2007, the UPA Govt invited bids for 126 jets. Six bidders submitted proposals.
In Jan 2012, UPA Govt announced Rafale as te winner. Dassault was to build 18 jets in France, with 108 to be made in India by HAL. Negotiations were incomplete 28 months after Rafale was chosen, due to disputes on costs and terms. After detailed negotiations, the cost were estimated at ₹1669 crores per jet by when the first jets were to be delivered. In five different speeches or tweets, Rahul Gandhi quoted ₹520 crores, ₹526 cr, ₹540 cr, ₹570 cr and ₹700 crores per jet as UPA’s price. For 10 years, UPA governments could not finalise a deal to augment India’s air security. No deal was signed for Rafale.
Less than two months after Modi became PM, renegotiations were held. Just 10½ months after coming to power, Modi announced a “government-to-government deal” to acquire 36 Rafales in “fly-away condition”. The Agreement was signed in Sep 2016. Deliveries would begin Sep 2019 and be completed by April 2022.
The negotiated cost per jet was ₹1623 crores. Modi got the Rafales cheaper than MMS. India got many other additional terms and benefits, explained here in great detail.
14 months after the deal was signed, Gandhi started calling it a scam. In different tweets, he alleged a scam of ₹58,000 crores (21 Feb 2018), ₹36,000 crores (16 Mar 2018), ₹40,000 crores (19 Mar 2018) and ₹130,000 crores (22 Sep 2018). When the deal itself is ₹58,428 crores, how can the scam be ₹58,000 cr or ₹130,000 crores? In an Inter-Government deal with no middleman, how are bribes paid? Who pays whom?
In my knowledge, this is the first book on the much-talked-about Rafale deal, and should put all controversies to rest once and for all.