The union government on Monday submitted details of its decision-making process in the Rafale deal, as per the order of the Supreme Court. Filing its affidavit, the government said that all the requisite steps as per the requirement of Defence Procurement Procedure 2013 have been followed.
A total of 74 meetings, which included 48 internal INT (Indian negotiation team) meetings and 26 external INT meetings with French side were held during the negotiations
In its response over the crux of the matter -- the selection of Anil Ambani's Reliance group as offset partner -- the government writes:
In so far as the discharging of the offset obligations by ORM and its Tier-1 vendors through Indian offset partners (IOPs) is concerned, there is no mention of any private Indian Business House(s) in IGA or Offset contract. The Offset Contract doesn't envisage manufacture of 36 Rafale Aircraft in India by any public or private sector firm.
It also goes on to say that the procedures laid out under the UPA were followed:
It is reiterated that the procurement process as laid down in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2013 was followed in the procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft
Busting Rahul Gandhi's claims that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) was not involved in signing off on the deal, the government has stated the date on which the CCS approval was accorded - August 24, 2016.
The Supreme Court had on October 10 asked the Centre to provide details of the decision making process in the Rafale fighter jet deal in a sealed cover. Pricing, strategy and manner of selecting offset partner has also been mentioned in a sealed cover report filed in court.
The Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between the governments of India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in a fly-away condition as a part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment. The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.
There has been tremendous politicisation of the deal in recent months, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi launching a country-wide campaign claiming violation of procedure in the deal, which Prashant Bhushan, as well as former NDA ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie have also taken forward.