BJP, Reliance defence react on Rafale expose, but key questions remain


The Congress on Tuesday reacted to Janta Ka Reporter expose on Rafale deal accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi government of having compromised the national interest and security while promoting “crony capitalism” and causing a loss to the public exchequer.

His emergency press briefing was blacked out by the Indian news channels. You can watch Rndeep Surjewala’s press conference on Janta Ka Reporter expose below!

The BJP, for its part, rubbished the allegation, claiming it was intended to “divert attention” because the Congress bigwigs faced the prospect of being questioned in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scandal.

BJP spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao claimed that the Congress party was engaging in a “stunt” by raising the Rafale issue as it was scared at the prospect of its top leadership, including the Gandhis, being questioned in the VVIP chopper scam.

“Modi government is known for integrity and all its actions are above board, while the Congress party is synonymous with sleaze, corruption and crony capitalism,” he was quoted by PTI.

The BJP has not explained as to why the UPA’s Rafale deal for 125 fighter jets secured at a considerably low price with transfer of technology clause was junked by the Modi government. It also has not commented on the need to purchase 36 jets at prices more than the double of the deal secured by the Manmohan Singh government.

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Limited too said the allegations made against it by the Congress was “baseless and unfounded.”

Reliance Defence said its subsidiary Reliance Aerostructure and Dassault Aviation formed a joint venture – Dassault Reliance Aerospace, after a bilateral agreement between two private companies and “the Indian government had no role to play in this.”

Reliance Defence claimed that government policy of 24 June, 2016 allowed for 49 per cent FDI in the defence sector under the automatic route, without any prior approval.

“No approvals from the Union Cabinet or CCS were required for the formation of the aforesaid joint venture company under the automatic route,” it said, brushing aside the Congress’ charge that prime minister Modi promoted interests of a group.

The group, however, has not explained the timing of its joint venture with the Dassault Aviation, with whom it had formed partnership just 10 days after the Indian government signed the agreement with Dassault Aviation. Also, was it a mere coincidence that Anil Ambani was present in France during the signing of the deal between the two countries?

Another intriguing aspect of Ambani’s joint venture with Dassault was that the lack of investment into Dassault Reliance Aerospace even though the French company has already routed Rs 21,000 crore through offset agreement.