In a considerable impact of Janta Ka Reporter’s bespoke and distinctive journalism, our expose on Rafale deal has dominated the conversation of the Indian parliament. In a reply to a Congress MP, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sensationally refused to divulge details citing secrecy pact with France.
Congress MP MV Rajeev Gowda, in a written question, had asked Sitharaman (read below), “Whether Dassault (the French aircraft manufacturer) was penalised for refusing to fulfil its contractual obligations under the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Request (MMRCA) deal; if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefore.”
Sitharaman, in her written reply, refused to divulge any details citing the so-called secrecy agreement with France. Her response said, “As per ‘Article-10’ of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between Government of India and Government of France on the purchase of Rafale aircraft, the protection of the classified information and material exchanged under IGA is governed by the provisions of the Security Agreement signed between the two nations in 2008.”
Janta Ka Reporter, in its two-part expose last year had revealed how in a bid to allegedly help a billionaire industrialist friend, the Centre’s Narendra Modi government had renegotiated the Rafale deal with the French company, Dassault Aviation, at nearly three times higher rate than what the UPA government had previously secured for 126 jets.
Post our sensational revelation, the government sympathetic media went into an over drive mode to desperately seek justifications in favour of the Modi government and why it had gone for purchasing 36 Rafale jets in place of 126 as originally agreed by the previous UPA government.