<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting the government’s counter to its allegations on Rafael aircraft deal as “lameduck” explanation, Congress asked why the 36 Rafale aircraft were purchased on emergency basis when regular purchase had already been negotiated.Soon after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman dismissed Congress allegations relating to the procurement deal for 36 “shameful” and held that such bickering was a “disservice” to the armed forces, Congress Communication chief Randeep Surjewala accused the government of “repeated attempts at shoddy cover up”.Alleging “complete non-transparency” in purchase of Rafale aircraft, Surjewala said India’s defence preparedness cannot be subject matter of politicking nor can the sacrosanct premises of Defence Ministry be “used for political mud slinging”.Repeating the allegations, Surjewala asked what is the price per aircraft of the 36 Rafale aircraft being purchased by Modi government and why are Modi government and Defence Minister “hiding” the purchase price.The Congress leader asked why was the public sector undertaking, HAL bypassed for getting 30,000 crore worth offset contract despite the work share agreement between HAL and Dassault Aviation signed in March 2014.”Why did the Prime Minister promote the interests of a private corporate entity over a public sector undertaking. Defence Minister has said that 36 Rafale aircraft were purchased on emergency basis. What was the need to buy aircraft on emergency basis when regular purchase had already been negotiated?”Why is it then that despite the emergency purchase and lapse of 34 months, not a single aircraft had been delivered? How long will it take for the delivery of aircraft? Shockingly, Defence Minister stated that offset deal for 50 percent of contract value has not been signed. If that is so, how has Reliance placed on its website the award of offset worth 30,000 crore in a joint venture with Dassault Aviation?,” Surjewala asked.Reliance Defence Ltd has rebutted the allegations and flagged “factual inaccuracies” in the Congress statement.The RDL said that the Joint Venture between Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Dassault Aviation is a bilateral agreement between two private companies and Dassault Aviation selected Reliance Aerostructure Ltd as its joint venture partner. “The Indian Government has no role to play in this,” it has said.It said that that offset obligations are to be undertaken by Dassault Reliance Aerospace joint venture company and not by Reliance Defence.
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