New Delhi, February 11: In a major twist in Rafale Deal controversy, reports claimed that the Narendra Modi government signed the deal without following the Standard Operating Procedure which was laid down by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2013. The central government dropped provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account days before the deal, reported The Hindu. Full Text of Rafale Deal Verdict by Supreme Court.
In a separate report, The Hindu recently stated that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had parallel discussions with France over the deal. It cited a November 24, 2015 note saying that parallel discussions by the PMO had “weakened the negotiating position of MoD and Indian Negotiating Team. “We may advise PMO that any Officers who are not part of Indian Negotiating Team may refrain from having parallel parlays [parleys] with the officers of French Government," the note said. The opposition attacked the Modi over this report in Parliament. Rafale Deal 'The Hindu' Report Rocks Parliament, Nirmala Sitharaman Says 'Inquiry by PMO Isn't Interference'.
The Congress and other opposition parties are alleging corruption in the Rafale Deal. Questions were raised over the purchasing Rafale jest at higher costs as compared to the price proposed by the previous UPA government. The opposition is also attacking the Modi government over the Rs 30,000 crore offset contract given to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited instead of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Meanwhile, in December last year, the Supreme Court dismissed all the petitions seeking a probe into the pricing of multi-million dollar Rafale fighter jets deal.