Modi government violated procedures in Rafale deal: Kapil Sibal

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The Modi government violated procedures in the Rafale deal with the External Affairs Ministry not in the know before it was announced in 2015, alleges senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who wants the government to tell the truth to the people, including the price of the fighter jets.
“You buy 36 Rafales off-the-shelf without informing the foreign ministry. Even the CEO of Dassault did not know 15 days before the announcement. He thought 95 per cent of the deal with HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) had been done, only five per cent was left,” Sibal told IANS in an interview.
He said then Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar was not aware of the deal two days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced it in France on April 10, 2015.
In his just-released book, “Shades of Truth–Journey Derailed”, the former Union minister refers to the fighter jet deal continuing to be a mystery. Modi did not take into confidence the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, when on a visit to Paris in April 2015, he announced the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft off-the-shelf.
On the eve of Modi’s visit to France, at a customary press conference, Jaishankar told the media that HAL was Dassault Aviation’s partner, thereby suggesting that the public sector undertaking was ready to strike the deal.
Modi broke convention by announcing the deal on foreign soil and surprised everyone by snatching it away from HAL. In March 2015, Dassault and HAL had publicly announced that the deal was 90 per cent done. By April 2015, on his visit to France, the deal was undone. “The stepmotherly treatment of a PSU surprised even those in government. Modi preferred a private company to a PSU for reasons that he knows best,” Sibal says in the book.
“Let’s look at the facts. Let’s assume for a moment that all the procedures were followed. On April 8, Foreign Secretary makes a public statement when asked if Rafale is going to be finalised when the PM goes there (to France). He says no… prime ministers don’t talk about these deals. This is not on the table at all. Our leaders are going to talk about different issues. So obviously the foreign ministry had no knowledge. Parrikar says he was told about it three days before,” Sibal said.