My Press Briefing in AICC 24-Sep-2018




The Rafale saga gets murkier by the minute like quick sand it sucks the Government into a quagmire each time the Government tries to respond or say something and each time it is exposes the prevarication of the Government more and more. As you know a few days back, we went to CAG – a Constitutional authority. As you know today during the lunchtime, we visited the CVC – another high-powered statutory authority, supposed to act independently. And each time we go we have new facets, new information, and new elements. Today for example, when we were there, I was there also; such a big dossier was given to them with Annexure.

I really want to address you on three or four points. Rest is with the CVC.

Number 1 – President Francois Hollande has confirmed, a day ago, categorically that that side of the Government had nothing to do with the choice of particular private company by Dassault. He also added that what was given to us, told to us, was done as far as the choice of the so-called off-set partner is concerned. We have said then, we have said again that this confirms yet another time, infinite time that the allegations of the Congress Party are correct. No real answer to Francois Hollande statement has come except obfuscation, ridicule, diversion and digression. In what I would say is virtually act of desperation. It reflects the desperation of the BJP, of its high functionaries like the Finance Minister. It shows a ridiculous level of contempt for the intelligence of the Indian people. It insults that intelligence. We have got the suggestion that the Congress Party is in possible collusion with the former President of France. How silly can we get is about all that I can say. The contract on the spot by a visiting Prime Minister of India is done when Hollande was the President. The government to government negotiations whatever they were was done when the NDA is in power. The off the shelf is done, which does not require tender according to Modi Government is done, when the Modi government is in power and the collusion is with us! Everything happens in 2015 and colluding party is us!

I want to understand from these high functionaries of the BJP what remarkable febrile and fertile leap of the imagination and the intellect suggests this collusion. Objectionable words, we are given sermons on. In the last two-to-three weeks, I have heard very nice generous warm an affectionate words like clown, mental balance and unfit for public life !! When you make allegations about collusion between a former President and his country and India at that time, do these all three words don’t apply to you like a glove. Do they not fit you like a glove the very three phrases which you have been liberally using. In fact, my colleague has also said, it shows cheap politics of the BJP will be allowed to trump even in India’s foreign relations arena. For the BJP even India-France relations will be grist to their mill. It does not matter if they are causality as long as they try and score ridiculous debating points. France is a country which has stood by us. It was very supportive in the NSG Nuclear Suppliers Group, it was very supportive of India during the Kargil War, and it has a long standing benign friendly relation with India. All that too one side but scoring superficial, the art of spin bowling, debating point, high functionaries and Ministers of the NDA Government that even if the collusion between the President of  an Opposition party and  President Hollande. Does it not make you or mind boggle at the degree of desperation?

Thirdly, as you know, we went to the CAG a few days ago. As you all know that CAG is a constitutional authority. It is designated by the Constitution. It is not under the Government. It is not answerable to the Government. We find a strange statement by the Finance Minister yesterday. The statement says “that the CAG will look at price, and decide whether it is better or worse than the NDA deal but will not lead to any cancellation etc. “.  You have seen the statement. We looked at it carefully and we are of the view that it is highly objectionable statement by one Minister of a Council of Ministers under severe threat and embarrassment because of Rafale speaking of a Constitutional independent authority. That statement first of all, reflects the Mr Jaitley’s approach that if the CAG is the part of his Ministry. The CAG himself may have served one time at the Finance Ministry but the office of CAG is not subordinate to or part of the Finance Ministry. There is a clear direction, message, indication in that statement trying to tell the CAG what to do, how much it can do, how much it should do, what it should not do and what the government will or will not do depending on what the CAG does. The words of the Minister let the cat out of the bag because they are pre-judgment and pre-decision. They set the tone and content in advance for what the Government would like the CAG to do. It of course makes a mockery of the independence, the absolute autonomy, guaranteed and created by our Constitution no less. And it is a case of trying desperately on another front – one desperate front is France, another desperate front where the message is sought to be set out is the CAG. I have no doubt about similar desperation will be reflected, as we today have visited today, the CVC. I would not be surprised if before the end of the day, you found another statement from the BJP quarters ridiculing and assaulting your sense of fairness and your adding insult to injury.

Fourth and last, I want you to note five undisputed dates. This is very important and you will be shocked. There is no answer to truth, facts and logic – six dates they speak for themselves. Then we will show you a video. The contents are in the public domain. But we will remind you of the facts.

Date No. 1 – on 25.3.2015, Eric Trapper the CEO of Dassault gives the statement which I am quoting and you will hear it in the video just now. “The negotiations with HAL are at advanced stage – signature stage will come very soon”. This is a big statement – exactly two weeks before the Prime Minister landed in France. This you will see on candid camera on video although it is in the public domain for some weeks.

On 8th April, 2015 ie two days before the PM meets France President in France or on Paris soil, the Foreign Secretary, no less the other one was the CEO of Dassault – Mr. Jaishankar, the then Foreign Secretary whose video we will also play now clearly suggests that Rafale is a not on the negotiation or the table between two countries on country to country basis. This statement is made by the Foreign Secretary. On that day, the Defence Minister, of course, is not asked to accompany the Prime Minister possibly a much important corporate is asked to accompany the PM but not the Defence Minister of India, who is inaugurating something in Goa. So he is not aware, he is not present. The, Finance Secretary is not aware, the CEO of Dassault is not aware then who is aware? There can only be three people who are aware – two in advance and one on tenth. The two in advance can be only the PM and the Corporate who was asked to accompany the PM because as you know my colleague Jaipal Reddy has said that ten days before all this a new corporation is set up. That is not astrology, that was not lightening from the sky, that was not God benediction. 10 days before and on that day Foreign Secretary says No, Eric Trapper says No, Defence Minister says No and on 10th Prime Minister announces off the shelf 36 aircraft deal and ten days before or two weeks before that the new company is formed and whose the company you all know. Now on that day, number one- the tender of the UPA has not been cancelled. Tender which is on-going open Government tender were cancelled more than three months later on 30th July but the Prime Minister has announced already. In an open tender, can you announce another deal? No Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has met. As you know this announcement has to go to the CCS. Thirdly- No Defence Procurement Price Procedure has been followed is if the book does not exist. The agreement which is there in a draft form available for all which Eric Trapper, the Dassault CEO confirms that there is an agreement and entered into a very big deal with HAL including Transfer of Technology. On 30th July much later – the tender is cancelled and much after that the CCS happens. The DPP happen etc. Ultimately the agreement is signed in 2016. So once the PM of the country makes an announcement, is it not that all of us have to fall in place, which Ministry is going to object, what is the meaning of the fate accompli which the Prime Minister created for this country on 10th of April. Thereafter, left it to its Ministries and Ministers to implement play accompli and accomplished pact. This all going through the motions because everything relevant was to be done before, was done after the Prime Minister of the country, Number 1 Executive authority, announced it on foreign soil.

Two questions and I end (1) as I said earlier till now we have no answer to why and how Dassault will search with candle light in a country of 1.25 billion people and find one corporate office which is tethering on the verge of bankruptcy to be selected for Rs. 30,000 crore off-set contract. No answer.चिराग लेकर ढूंढने से सबसे अच्छी, जो सार्वजनिक रुप से एक ऐसी संस्था थी, जिसे सब जानते थे, बैंकरप्सी की कगार पर खड़ी है। क्या वही मिल सकती है दसॉल्ट को? And why is it that HAL even if you are to buy 36, you could have hiped off 36 off the shelf, the balance we will do with Transfer of Technology with HAL. What happened between the 25th of March when the CEO of Dassault, the Foreign Secretary of India, the Defence Minister of India – all speaking in one voice and the PM on 10th April signed another agreement, hardly 15 days – something significant happened. That is the question which we have no answer for. We hear digression, we hear spin bowling.

A video was shown to the Media

Éric Trapper said- I strongly believe a contract finalization and signature could come very soon. The CEO is saying on 25th of March.

Video was shown

On 8th April, 2015, Foreign Secretary of India Jaishankar said- we don’t mix up leadership issues with defence contract. Leadership issues looks at the big picture.

To another question that it is propaganda by the Congress Party, Dr. Singhvi said- Repeating a ridiculous statement makes you more ridiculous. There are two things inbuilt in to the Defence Minister’s statement – one is a repetition of Mr. Jaitley – parrot like – if the origin is wrong, the puppet has to be wrong. Second, it is actually underlining what I have told you- which is that even Indo-French relations are prepared to be undermined by this Government to save their skin by misinformation.

On another question that the Home Ministry has issued a Press Release regarding the statement of Shri Rahul Gandhi on the SPG Director, Dr. Singhvi said- This Government and Ministries are prepared to believe somebody living in Antarctic as against Rahul Gandhi. They are so scared of Shri Rahul Gandhi that they are so worried that his statements to which they have no answer, they will believe anyone but not him. So, here you have an example that you have answered your own question. There is no name taken but yet an imaginary issue is being raised to refute Shri Rahul Gandhi’s statement. Shri Rahul Gandhi must be refuted at all costs even though it is beyond the boundary of imagination.


(Vineet Punia)


Communication Deptt.


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