Centre submits Rafale deal’s decision-making process to petitioners

The document titled “Details of the steps in the decision making process leading to the award of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft order” stated that the process as laid down in the Defence Procurement Procedure-2013 has been followed in procurement of the Rafale aircraft.

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The Central government on Monday submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court in connection with the Rafale deal, citing that defence procurement norms were followed in acquiring 36 Rafale aircraft.

The Narendra Modi government has also assured the top court that “all requisite steps were taken in the Rafale deal”. In the nine-page affidavit, which has been accessed by India Today, the Centre said, “The procurement process as laid down in the Defence Procurement Procedure-2013 was followed in procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft.”

The report was passed on to the petitioners in compliance with the top court’s order which permitted the government to redact sensitive portions that could impact on the country’s security.

Details, including the steps in the decision making process for the procurement of jets, which could “legitimately” be brought into public domain, should be made available to the parties who have filed petitions before it in the matter, the court had said.

The NDA has not disclosed details of the price, but the UPA deal, struck in 2012, was not a viable one, former defence minister Manohar Parrikar had previously said. The NDA has said the current deal also includes customised weaponry.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s decision to enter a $8.7 billion government-to-government deal with France to buy 36 Rafale warplanes made by Dassault was announced in April 2015, with an agreement signed a little over a year later.

This replaced the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime decision to buy 126 Rafale aircraft, 108 of which were to be made in India by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

The deal has become controversial with the Opposition, led by the Congress, claiming that the price at which India is buying Rafale aircraft now is Rs 1,670 crore each, three times the Rs 526 crore, the initial bid by the company when the UPA was trying to buy the aircraft. It has also claimed the previous deal included a technology transfer agreement with HAL.

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