At present, the alleged corruption in Rafale deal is the sharpest allegation in the armory of the Congress to tear into the uncorrupt and bright image of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Despite the official denial again and again, the Congress has been sticking to the charge and has a plan to exploit it further. The Congress has been demanding to reveal the price of the jets. The opposition party said the price was hiked compared to what was pegged by the UPA government. The Congress has also dragged the Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani into the deal and alleged that the government wanted to provide illegal benefits to the group. Under the pressure of the charge that is being repeated again and again, the corporate giant came forward to explain his position.
In a letter to the Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Ambani termed all allegations against the Reliance Group, “baseless, ill-informed and unfortunate”. He said Reliance or Dassault Reliance joint venture would not build Rafale jets. All 36 planes would be manufactured in France and exported to India. Not a single component would be made by Reliance, he added. The defence ministry had not awarded any contract related to Rafale to the Reliance Group. Therefore there is no question of any benefit to his company.
Rahul Gandhi had alleged that Reliance joint venture was set up 10 days before the deal in Paris. Anil Ambani explained Reliance announced its decision to enter the defence manufacturing sector months before the decision to purchase the planes was taken.
In view of the explanation given by Anil Ambani, the Congress has to counter the arguments put forth by the Reliance chairman.