Now, Rafale and Pilatus Deals by UPA Also Under Scanner
After the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, two other defence deal signed during the UPA 2 regime are under the NDA government’s scanner. According to government sources, the Defence Ministry has ordered probe into the selection of the Pilatus and Rafale deals.
The decision to probe the two deals comes even as the government and the opposition are engaged in a fierce battle over the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal. While the government has accused the Congress leadership of corruption, the opposition has accused them of inaction in the alleged scam case.
Sources said that names of officers involved in Agusta negotiations have already been given to the Enforcement Directorate. The Defence Ministry has also asked the ED and the CBI to fast-track the Agusta scam probe.
In May 2015, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said that UPA government’s proposed deal for 126 Rafale fighter jets was economically unviable and not required.
He had also raised questions on the tendering process initiated by former defence minister AK Antony. According to Parrikar, his predecessor had “hammered” the tender in such a way that the Rafale deal would have never seen the light of the day.
Rafale had won the MMRCA deal in 2012 to supply 126 fighters at a then estimated cost of Rs 42,000 crore. The MMRCA race had seen six vendors – Russia’s MIG-35 (RAC MiG), Swedish JAS-39 (Gripen), Dassault Rafale (France), American F-16 Falcon (Lockheed Martin), Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon (made by a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian firms) – taking part.
Under the terms of purchase, the first 18 MMRCA aircrafts were supposed to come in a ‘fly away’ condition while the remaining 108 manufactured under Transfer of Technology.
The Indian Air Force has already started inducting Swiss made basic trainer aircraft Pilatus. The aircraft is used for basic training of all IAF pilots, in addition to those of the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard.