AISA called for a national protest day against the Rafale Scam on 26 September. In Delhi the protest was held at Jantar Mantar. The protestors demanded Forensic & Parliamentary Investigation into Rafale Deal. They further demanded that the PM be held answerable for: Loot of Public Exchequer to Benefit His Crony!; Violating All Rules of Defence Purchase & Offset Contract!; and, Compromising Defence Needs and Security!
Addressing the protestors, AISA National President, Com. Sucheta De said that those who betrayed the national freedom struggle, have again betrayed nation’s security threats. She reminded how it is these traitors who have time and again betrayed the nation, who feel the need to chant rhetoric of nationalism time and again to hide their misdeeds. She asked, “the deal negotiated by the UPA government involved buying 126 Rafale jets. This deal was cancelled overnight; the new deal signed by the Modi Govt instead obtained only 36 jets (in a ready-to-fly condition). We demand the answer to why & how the approved requirement of IAF for 126 jets got so drastically slashed!”. She further pointed out that “The Modi govt along with its godi media have been desperately trying to ‘justify’ this 3-fold price hike by saying that the Modi-negotiated jets have “enhanced” features. But this lie has been nailed by the India-France joint statement (released during the PM’s visit to France just after the deal in April 2015). It states that 36 Rafale aircrafts “will be of the same configuration” as the previous model tested and approved by the IAF. We are thus paying three times the amount for the SAME and NOT enhanced product”. She questioned the PM asking him why neither HAL, nor the Defence Minister/Secretary, nor the Foreign Ministry were kept in the loop while striking this deal! The lies being floated by the BJP led government stand exposed as the former French president Hollande, who signed the Rafale contract with Modi, also said “he had no choice in selecting the Indian offset partner and name of Reliance was given by Indian side”
Other AISA leaders addressing the protest said that while the Defence Minister says HAL is not capable of completing the Rafale project, the former HAL head T. Suvarana Raju has gone on record to refute Nirmala Sitharaman’s absurd claims. It is shocking that the Defence minister expects us to believe that HAL with 70 years’ credentials doesn’t have the expertise, but the 12-day-old RDL has! They further pointed out Reliance Defence Limited was registered just in time to snag the defence ‘offset’ and production partnership as part of the Rafale deal freshly negotiated by the Modi Government. The protestors asked: Why was the inexperienced two-week-old RDL preferred over the experienced public sector HAL? Why did the new deal cost India two and half times more than the cost negotiated by the previous Government? Why did the new deal lack the transfer technology which was part of the previous deal? How did Ambani’s RDL get the lion’s share of ‘offsets’ after the deal, despite zero experience in the defence production?
The protestors said that they will continue to demand answers from the current regime and ensure through their protests that this massive scam, one of the biggest since independence is not allowed to be buried under silence and lies.