Nashik: Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan has come out with a claim that the central government has in the last month floated international tenders to purchase about 100 medium multi-role combat aircraft. The claim comes amid the hot topic being debated about the “Rafale deal” in the political circles.
Mr. Chavan claimed that the Adani Defence Systems and Technologies Limited inked an agreement with Swedish defence giant Saab to receive the aircraft.
He was speaking at a seminar titled ‘Is Modi really guilty in Rafale deal?’, which was organised by an NGO on Tuesday, the former Maharashtra chief minister said, “(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi, in order to benefit his friends (industrialists) Anil Ambani and Gautam Adani, has started playing with the defence ministry.”
“After Reliance Defence, for the Rafale deal, Adani Defence Systems and Technologies Limited has been formed and it has signed an agreement with Sweden’s Saab group for around 100 combat aircraft,” Mr. Chavan said.
He further said that the earlier United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government wanted to purchase a total of 126 Rafale aircraft, but the present government of Prime Minister Modi inked an agreement to purchase only 36 Rafale planes by paying a whopping Rs. 1,000 crore more per aircraft.
“Considering the need for more Rafale fighter aircraft for the country, why only 36 aircraft are being purchased?” Mr. Chavan demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the deal.
Back in the year 2000, the then UPA government invited bids from companies of various countries and at last decided to buy 126 Rafale aircraft of which 18 were to be manufactured in France and the remaining 108 was to be manufactured by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Mr. Chavan said.
“However, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in 2015, a new agreement for the purchase of 36 aircraft, costing more, was signed,” he added.
As for now, the Anil Ambani Reliance Group has served legal notices to the Congress leaders and its spokesperson seeking the stoppage of leveling allegations against the Rafale deal.
Later on, Mr. Chavan told media persons that the letter by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on non-performing assets (NPAs) to the Parliamentary Estimates Committee was “misinterpreted” by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that the under the UPA regime, the figures for NPAs went up to only 4 lakh crore and the same went up to Rs. 11 lakh crore under the present National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime.
Mr. Chavan blamed the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena over the issue of fuel price hike in the state of Maharashtra.