Congress and its President Rahul Gandhi found a dead horse to flog in the run-up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections. They managed to concoct a “scam” where there existed none and continued with their canards despite the Supreme Court giving the deal a clean chit. The Rafale deal became Rahul Gandhi’s pet issue in these elections. He repeated lies after lies, canards after canards helped by his friends in the media who never questioned him about his assertions.
Here is a compilation of the Rafale lies that Rahul Gandhi spread in the run-up to elections.
Reliance Industries of Anil Ambani has been given the contract to make the Rafale fighter
The 36 Rafale Fighter jets are being completely made in France by Dassault, no aircraft will be made in India under this deal. Reliance or any other Indian company is not making the Rafale jet in India. So there is no question of Anil Ambani’s Reliance, or any other company in India, making the Rafale jet.
Modi has stolen ₹30,000 crore from HAL and gifted it to Reliance Industries of Anil Ambani.
Reliance getting offset business does not mean they get money from the Rafale deal. Dassault and Reliance have set up a joint venture company, named Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited, where both companies have invested ₹400 crore each. The offset business that DRAL is expected to get around ₹1000 crore, not ₹30,000 crore as claimed by Rahul Gandhi.
The offset deal was snatched from HAL and given to Reliance.
HAL does not do offset business, they do license production of aircraft, and in the current deal, there is no provision for the production of the Rafale fighters in India. In the past, the PSU has never done any offset business, they have been manufacturing aircraft which are made India, like the MiG21 and Sukhoi Su-30MKI jets. The company also does maintenance, upgradation and overhauling of aircraft. Therefore, there is no question of snatching any offset business from HAL.
HAL was supposed to manufacture 108 Rafale jets in India under the previous deal during UPA government, but that deal could not be finalised due to the difference between HAL and Dassault. HAL wanted 2.7 times more man hours to make the jets, which would have increased the price. The CAG report on Rafale had also noted that if 2.7 times manpower cost is added, the Rafale no longer remains the lowest bidder, making the entire deal invalid.
Reliance has no experience in making planes, still, they are given offset deal to make Rafale.
As stated above, Reliance is not making the Rafale. As per offset clause, the offset business need not be related to the item of the deal, the foreign vendor can invest in or buy any product or service from a list given in the DPP. In the current deal, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited is going to get a small part of offset business, which is a joint venture between Dassault and Reliance. As Dassault is one of the JV partners, this means DRAL can tap into the vast experience of Dassault in aircraft manufacturing. It can be noted that DRAL is already making parts for Falcon civilian jet of Dassault.
Dassault was forced to select Reliance as offset partner
Reliance is not an offset partner in the Rafale deal, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd is, a 49:51 JV of Dassault and Reliance. As per the offset clause of India’s Defence Purchase Policy, the foreign vendor is free to select its offset partner. The governments of India and France and Dassault has clarified that there was pressure to select any company as offset partner. Dassault has selected around 100 offset partners, many of them PSU units, and DRAL is just one of them.
Modi government is paying more for the Rafale aircraft compared to previous deal by UPA government
The CAG report on the Rafale deal has thoroughly busted this lie. There were two components of the previous deal, 18 to be made by Rafale, 108 to be made by HAL. The cost of jets that were too be made in India was never finalised as HAL was demanding far more manhour, hence it is a lie to say that UPA deal was cheaper. According to the CAG report, the Modi government’s 2016 Rafale deal is 2.86% cheaper than the UPA’s deal in 2007.
Apart from the offset deal, Reliance has won a “lifecycle contract” worth $16 billion.
Apart from keep repeating the ₹30,000 crore lie, Rahul Gandhi had also said that Reliance was given a Rafale “lifecycle” contract of $16 billion hence the total benefit for the company was $20 billion. The fact is, no such thing as a “lifecycle contract” exists in the Rafale deal. This was just a fertile imagination of Rahul Gandhi.
Reliance Defence was set up just 12 days before signing the Rafale deal. It has no experience in the defence sector.
Reliance Defence was originally Pipavav Shipyard, which was set up in 1997. It is the first Indian private company to be cleared for building warships by Navy. The company was acquired by Reliance in 2015. Other than contracts to build warships for Indian Navy, the company has also won a maintenance contract from US Navy’s 7th fleet worth ₹15,000 crore.
Dassault is facing a financial crisis. That’s why they accepted Reliance as an offset partner to get the Rafale deal.
Dassault is a profit-making company, and its net income in 2017 was $708.95 million. Moreover, earlier the company had let go of the deal for 126, even after winning the bid, because they could not agree with terms of HAL. Therefore, to say that they accepted Reliance as an offset only to win the deal has no logic.
Official documents of Dassault leaked by French media confirmed that the company was forced to select Reliance as offset partner.
No such official document was ever leaked by French media. The documents published by a French portal were not from Dassault company, but they had published some publicly available documents published by trade unions of Dassault, which had talked about the Rafale deal. They were leaflets of two trade unions, CGT and CFDT, and they gave details about a meeting the top management of Dassault Aviation held with the labour unions of the company. As the company was forced to move some of its production to India to comply with the offset clause of Rafale deal, the management was explaining the same to the labour unions. The management talked about being forced to do offset business, which was misinterpreted as being forced to do business with Reliance.
There is no secrecy clause in the Dassault deal, and all details can be made public.
Rahul Gandhi had claimed that French President Macron had told him that there is no secrecy pact in the Rafale deal and the details of it can be made public. But the French government had immediately refuted the same, saying that secrecy pact was signed in 2008 (during UPA regime, AK Antony being the defence minister) which legally bound both the countries to protect classified information. These provisions also apply to the deal of 36 Rafale aircrafts and their weapons, the French statement had clarified.
Narendra Modi took the decision to buy 36 Rafale jets without consulting the Indian Air Force.
IAF was part of the process that selected Rafale among the 6 contenders in the MMRCA bid. That deal was cancelled as there were disagreements between Dassault and HAL over the terms of 108 aircraft to be made in India. Due to the urgent requirement of fighters, govt decided to buy 2 squadrons directly instead of the original one. IAF was part of the negotiations for these 36 jets in all stages.
A ‘management meet note’ of ICICI bank proves that Reliance is getting ₹1,05,000 crore from the deal and Reliance will provide performance based logistics for 50 years.
The ICICI Bank note estimates the ‘Potential Market Size’ for the Rafale offset obligations to be ₹22,000 crore, and total offset obligation in the deal as ₹29,500 crore. Potential market size means the total size of a market available for all the players, it DOES NOT mean a single company is getting all the business in that market. Moreover, there is no mention of ₹1,05,000 crore and 50 year deal in the note.
Manohar Parrikar had told him that he was against the Rafale deal
When Goa CM Manohar Parrikar was critically ill, the Congress president had gone to meet him. After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi had claimed that Parrikar had told him that Parrikar had “nothing to do with the new Rafale deal orchestrated by Mr Narendra Modi to benefit Anil Ambani”. Rahul Gandhi told these lies when Parrikar was alive, and continued to so after the death of the former defence minister. Parrikar had rebutted the claims of Rahul Gandhi in a strongly worded letter.
PMO was doing ‘parallel negotiations’ on the Rafale deal which was objected by the Defence ministry
This lie was based on a defence ministry note published by the Hindu which showed that one defence ministry official had objected to PMO keeping track of the deal. But the Hindu had cropped a crucial portion of the note, and removed the comment of defence minister Manohar Parrikar, who said that “PMO and French President office are monitoring the progress of the issue which was an outcome of the summit meeting. Para 5 appears to be an over reaction,” referring to the comment of the official, who was not part of the Rafale negotiation committee.
Rahul Gandhi and others against the Rafale deal keep alleging that PMO was interfering in the Rafale deal, they want to imply that Defence ministry is a sovereign independent entity. But the fact is, defence minister reports the prime minister, and the prime minister has the right to oversee every activity undertaken by various departments of the government. Moreover, the deal for 36 Rafale deal is a government to government deal signed by the PM, hence it is natural that PMO will monitor the progress of the deal.
Crucial clauses of the Defence Procurement Procedure were dropped in the Rafale deal
Rahul Gandhi and others keep saying that clauses like sovereign guarantee and anti-corruption clauses were waived in the Rafale deal, which is a violation of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). But the fact is that the DPP itself provides for such relaxations in case of government to government deal, hence Rafale deal is eligible for such waiver. Moreover, such clauses were waived in earlier government to government deals also, it was not done for the first time in Rafale deal.