Rafale deal: Why did Modi govt snatch HAL’s work share agreement with Dassault, asks Congress

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi asked, “Why was the work share agreement worth approx ₹36,000 crore snatched from HAL and given to Anil Ambani’s company?”

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Vishwadeepak

Firing a fresh salvo at the Modi government over Rafale deal, the Congress party on Sunday accused Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman of “guarding the interest of Anil Ambani-owned corporate entities” - Reliance Defence limited and Reliance Aerostructure Limited at the cost state-backed Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

“Why was the work share agreement worth approximately ₹36,000 crore snatched from the government-owned defense manufacturer HAL, and given to Anil Ambani-owned company?” asked Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi.

Referring to a tweet from the official handle of French defence giant Dassault Aviation, Chaturvedi said while Dassault Aviation had gone public announcing the agreement, the Modi government later cancelled it. “Corporate interests over national interest have been Modi sarkar’s mantra,” she said.

Questioning Raksha Mantri’s role in the 36-fighter jet deal and accusing her of telling a lie in the Parliament, Chaturvedi pointed out that Sitharaman had on September 14, 2018, falsely claimed that HAL did not have the capability to produce 108 aircraft in India. “That’s not true,” said the Congress leader. “Who’s corporate interests was the RM serving?” she asked.

Worth to recall that on Jan 4 last year, in her speech in Parliament, Sitharaman stated that she could not divulge the offset partner in Rafale deal, but her trip to the Nagpur was well reported by the media.

On October, 28, 2017, Sitharaman attended the stone-laying of Dassault-Reliance JV with French Defense Minister and the Maharashtra CM, Devendra Fadnavis.

Chaturvedi said that the license for Reliance Aerostructure Limited, incorporated on April 24, 2015, fourteen days after the Rafale deal was announced, was granted by then Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.“Who’s commercial interests were being served by the Commerce Minister Sitharaman?” asked Chaturvedi.

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Published: 20 Jan 2019, 9:57 PM