DM Parrikar Didn’t Approve of Rafale Price Increase, Clashed With Modi on Guarantee Issue

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According to the Congress, Manohar Parrikar as the Defence Minister did not agree with the increased prices of the Rafale Jets.

He clashed with PM Narendra Modi on the sovereign guarantee issue and as the head of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) passed on the files to the Prime Minister without taking any decision, either on the price increase or on the waiver of an explicit guarantee by the French government on the delivery of the 36 fighter jets.

Parrikar refused to take on responsibility of increasing the prices, fearing a future backlash, even though the PM asked him to do so, claim sources. Parrikar as the head of the DAC was told by the PMO to approve the increased prices, but the shrewd DM dithered  on the issue, delaying the decision making and finally put the ball in the PM’s court.

Continuing his attack on prime minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that Mr Modi personally increased benchmark price of Rafale jets by 3 Billion Euros (₹22,743 crore).

The Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala claimed that the negotiating team had “a serious dispute” on the benchmark price, which was referred to the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Manohar Parrikar refused to hike prices of Rafale

“Parrikar as also the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by the Defence Minister and the chiefs of the three armed forces also didn’t agree and could not decide on the higher benchmark price of € 8.2 Billion. So DAC referred it to Cabinet Committee on Security (CSS) headed by the Prime Minister. PM Modi as the head of the CCS accepted the higher benchmark price without any negotiations or inquiry and personally hiked the prices. Why did the Prime Minister set a higher benchmark price,” Sujrewala asked.

Sujrewala also claimed that Mr. Parrikar had refused to accept the “letter of comfort” in place of a sovereign/bank guarantee and cited an August 18, 2016 note in which the Air Acquisition wing of the Defence Ministry stated, “Bank Guarantees may be insisted from French side as required under our procedure and Indian side may bear the Bank Guarantee charges”.

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