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PM Modi’s Rafale deal ‘costlier, slower on delivery’: Report

New Delhi: The controversy over the Rafale deal has been hinged on two main claims: the new deal signed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government was better than the congress-era one and that it would get fighter jets faster.

According to latest report in The Hindu newspaper on Wednesday claims that at least three senior Defence Ministry officials among the seven-member Indian Negotiating Team strongly disagreed with the stand.

 

It is the latest in a series of stories published by the newspaper, arming the opposition, led by Rahul Gandhi and Congress, with new attack against the ruling government.

On Monday, The Hindu reported how condition for anti-corruption penalties were dropped days before the deal was signed. Before that, it reported on Defence ministry’s objections to “parallel negotiations” conducted by the Prime Minister’ Office.

This new claims cite the dissent note signed off by three domain experts on the Indian team- MP Singh, Adviser (Cost), a Joint Secretary-level officer from the Indian Cost Accounts Service; AR Sule, Financial Manager (Air); and Rajeev Verma, Joint Secretary and Acquisitions Manager (Air).

The eight-page note was written more than a month after the team’s negotiations with the French side were completed and three months before the inter-governmental agreement was signed, on September 23, 2016.

“They also concluded that the delivery schedule of even the first 18 of the 36 flyaway Rafale aircraft in the new deal was slower than the one offered for the 18 flyaway aircraft in the original procurement process,” The Hindu said.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi highlighted new report, saying that it had “demolished” the government’s arguments, conveyed both to the Parliament and the Supreme Court.

Gandhi also accused the government of signing an overpriced deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets at an increased price to benefit Anil Ambani, who was recommended as an offset partner for Dassault, the manufacturing company of the aircraft.

However, Reliance, Dassault and the government have denied the allegations.