There has been no dearth of accusing fingers on the government’s Rafale deal with France in 2016, in which 36 Rafale fighter jets were purchased not only at a much higher cost of Rs 58,000 crore, but the fact that the commission of assembling was awarded not to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL) but to Anil Ambani’s company that had no experience whatsoever in making any aircraft.
The Congress President, Rahul Gandhi has been vocal in his accusations but now the former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie have joined in the bandwagon. Speaking at the Press Club in the capital on 11.9.2018, Tuesday, the two former BJP leaders turned critics, along with the Supreme court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had compromised national security with the Rafale defence deal.
In a joint statement they said, “The responses of Reliance, Jaitley and the government at large, cumulatively show that award of offsets to Reliance-Dassault JV is a commission for the services that Ambani provides to Modi. The national security has been compromised by the prime minister and every rule of procurement flouted to unilaterally reduce the number of planes from 126 to 36.”
Citing secrecy for the purpose of national security, the government was channelising money worth Rs 30,000 crore through Dassault Reliance Aerospace, a joint venture established between Anil Ambani’s Reliance Aerostructure and Dassault. This was commission for the services that Ambani provides to Modi, they alleged.