Pune: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan claimed on Monday that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had allegedly put pressure on the central government to increase the price of the Rafale fighter aircraft.
"NSA Ajit Doval pressured the government to increase the price of aircraft by 3.2 billion. There was no need for it, and he being an advisor had no role to play in price matter. There was a committee of price negotiation to look after," Chavan alleged at a book launch in Pune.
At the event, Chavan claimed that Dassault Aviation had promised the former UPA government to transfer the technology to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL.
"As per the agreement, it was decided that only 18 aircraft will be manufactured with Dassault and other 108 aircraft will be manufactured in India's HAL for which the technology will be transferred by Rafale. We have video proof of same being said by Rafale CEO. Later on, when they smelled that the government is about to change, they started avoiding technology transfer factor with us," Chavan said.
"Defence acquisition council meeting refused to increase the price of the aircraft by 3.2 billion. Hats off to Manohar Parrikar because of him it happened. He refused to take a decision. Three meetings happened of Defence acquisition Council, but Parrikar refused to take a decision. Hence the Cabinet committee on national security took the decision and Prime Minister signed on that paper. Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh may not be part of this decision, but they were the witness of it. Hence they hold (equal) responsibility of it," he further alleged.
He went on to add that "We (UPA) were responsible for the delay in the deal for one year after 2012 because we wanted those aircraft to be manufactured in India."