Bhushan went on to say that the ‘secret clause’ in the Rafale deal, as claimed by the govt, is a big lie.
Bengaluru: The payoffs in the controversial Rafale aircraft deal run into a staggering Rs 40,000 crore, claimed Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan while reiterating that Reliance Defence Ltd Chairman Anil Ambani was a beneficiary to the tune of over Rs 21,000 crore in this deal.
Terming the Rafale deal as the ‘mother of all defence deals’ compared to which other deals like the Bofors gun and Westland chopper deals would pale into insignificance, Mr Bhushan alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was solely responsible for signing the controversial deal, bypassing the chief of the Air Force and the defence minister.
Speaking to reporters here on Sunday, Mr Bhushan said that though Reliance Defence Ltd was in existence for over a year, it had a liability to the tune of Rs 8,000 crore and had incurred a loss of over Rs 1,300 crore.
It was assigned 70 per cent of the offset benefits in the Rafale deal worth over Rs 21000 crore.
Besides, the steep hike in the price of the aircraft from Rs 716 crore per fighter to Rs 1,600 crore increased the payoff, which would now be Rs 40,000 crore, with other beneficiaries too involved, Mr Bhushan said.
In the first place, neither Reliance Defence nor any of its allied companies have experience in manufacturing aerospace and defence equipment.
The Pipavav Shipyard owned by Reliance, is already facing serious difficulties in building offshore patrol vessels for the navy.
In such a scenario, why was the company given Rs 21,000 crore worth offset benefits, Mr Bhushan wondered.
Describing the “secret clause” in the Rafale agreement as a big lie, he said the government had wilfully bypassed institutions and violated procedures that have been evolved to safeguard national security.
The government should disclose the facts relating to the deal, especially those related to cost, he added.