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Country incurred Rs 41,000 crore loss in Rafale deal, alleges Congress


Team Udayavani, Aug 31, 2018, 10:57 AM IST

Bengaluru: The Congress on Thursday alleged that the country has incurred a Rs 41,000 crore loss with the Narendra Modi government inking a new deal with French aviation company Dassault for buying 108 Rafale aircraft. The prime objective of the deal was to help Modi’s friend Anil Ambani who floated a new company just before 12 days of striking deal, Congress spokesman Jaipal Reddy alleged. 

Facing allegations of getting undue benefits from the multi-billion dollar Rafale deal, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group has sent legal notices to several Congress leaders asking them to “cease and desist” from levelling such charges.

The party has dubbed the move as evidence of a “nexus between the BJP and the corporate world” and said it will not be scared or silenced by such notices, which have been sent to several spokespersons and other leaders of the party.

The Ambani group, which has been in the eye of a raging political storm over the fighter jet deal, has denied receiving any contract from the Defence ministry and said “unfounded and incorrect” allegations were being made to “mislead people and cloud the issue.”

Reddy claimed that the new deal had not only affected public sector HAL, which was supposed to produce the aircraft as per previous agreement by UPA government, but also that the opportunity of creating 10,000 jobs for youths was lost.

“The country has incurred Rs 41,000 crore loss after NDAgovernment led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi struck a newdeal with Dassault to purchase 108 aircraft,” Reddy told reporters here, as the party continued its offensive against the Modi government on the Rafale deal.

He also alleged that the Modi government was unwilling to appoint a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the Rafale deal, “for it fears truth will come out.” Replying to a query, Reddy said Dassault never said HAL was incompetent and also they never wanted a private company to partner with.

“It is not true. First of all, Dassault never said HAL was incompetent. The information is incorrect. Secondly, Dassault never wanted private company. As latest as March 8, 2015, the (then) foreign secretary had said HAL and Dassault were talking to each other, positively,” he said.

Asked why Congress does not move the court, Reddy said, “In Parliamentary democracy, we don’t go to courts.” On the arrest of five human rights activists for allegedly having links with Maoists, Reddy said the Modi government has arrested them on ideological basis, whereas Congress government had arrested them after implicating them in specific cases.

“When we arrested persons with Maoists links, we did it after implicating them in specific cases. We did not make arrests on ideological basis as done by the central government,” he said.

He was replying to a query about the Congress government arresting Varnan Gonsalves, who was arrestedtwo days back by Maharashtra police, in 2007. The then government had arrested Gonsalves for allegedly possessing 9 detonators, 20 gelatin sticks, walkie-talkie, grenade and two firearms.

“You cannot arrest a person because of his views. Somebody says I don’t have faith in Congress, but only have faith in revolutionary upsurge. You cannot arrest a person based on such premise,” Reddy said.  

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