The Narendra Modi government's procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France under a deal in 2016 is actually cheaper than the one negotiated by the previous UPA government, top government sources told The Indian Express.
The report quoted sources as saying that the Rs 526 crore or approximately Euro 79 million per aircraft which the Opposition has been talking about is actually based on Rafale's 2007 bid at the then exchange rate.
Alleging a "scam", the Congress has been asking the government whether the per aircraft price of Rafale, according to international bids opened on 12 December, 2012, comes to $80.95 million (Rs 526.1 crore) as against the Modi government's per aircraft negotiated price of $241.66 Million (Rs 1,570.8 crore) as per current exchange rates.
The UPA government floated a tender in 2007 for purchase of 126 MMRCA for the Air Force and, post negotiations, two of them — Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon — remained in the reckoning. However, the deal could not be finalised by the UPA regime.
Asked why NDA government did not go for Eurofighter Typhoon as it had offered a 25 percent price cut, the sources said several European countries were involved in manufacturing of Eurofighter and France was preferred for the inter-governmental deal.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had also retaliated to the Congress' allegations and said that the party was looking for a scam every day to throw mud on the "corruption-free" NDA government.
"The Congress wants to equate their corrupt and scam-hit UPA government with ours. So, it is looking for a scam every day. Here we go there is one, pick it up and throw mud, and it is for us to keep wiping it and saying we are clean. I am sorry it is somewhat not so responsible way in which you want to criticise the government," she had said.
Sitharaman had also said there was no controversy over the Rafale deal as there was no deal under the UPA government. "Let's get this out of our system that they (UPA government) had the deal and it was much better. Where was the deal under the UPA? There was just no deal."
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Mar 01, 2018 14:07 PM