Days after the defence ministry’s ‘dissent note’ sparked massive controversy in the ongoing Rafale row, new media report suggest that the Narendra Modi government not only waived the anti-corruption clause but also overruled the Financial Advisers’ recommendation for an escrow account. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi attacked the Modi government and said that the report by ‘The Hindu’ proves that, “the Chowkidar himself opened the door to allow Anil Ambani to steal 30,000 Cr. from the IAF.” “It is clear that the PM facilitated loot,” Gandhi added.
Last week, ‘The Hindu’ had published a report the ‘note of dissent’ that was recorded on November 24, 2015 on a note prepared by SK Sharma, Deputy Secretary (Air-II), and endorsed by the Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Air) and the Director General (Acquisition) in the Ministry. However, the then defence secretary G Mohan Kumar said that, “Defence Ministry’s dissent note had nothing to do with Rafale pricing.” Kumar was quoted as saying by the ANI that, “It (MoD dissent note on Rafale negotiations) had nothing to do with price. It was about sovereign guarantees and general terms and conditions.”
Last month, ‘The Hindu’ had reported that how the Narendra Modi government's 2015 decision exponentially increased the price of each fighter jet. The report said that the deal bypassed the procedures despite some serious objections raised by top defence brass. The January 18 report said that the 2015 decision caused the price of Rafale jets to go up by 41%. According to the report, Manmohan Singh-led UPA government had decided to buy 126 Rafale aircraft in 2007. The 2007 bid meant India was buying 18 fighter jets in ‘fly-away’ condition and 108 were to be made in India.
However, the news agency ANI reported that the government sources said that it was following the rules set up by the UPA government. The Indian negotiating team, which firmed up the Rafale deal, followed the policy of the UPA government, the report said. According to ANI, it was in 2013 when the UPA government had formed a new policy, which allows Defence Ministry to not follow laid down rules and sign inter-governmental agreements with friendly foreign countries as per mutually agreed provisions on both sides.