Govt all set to procure 126 French combat aircraft

New Delhi: Addressing questions raised over the process of selecting Rafale fighter planes, Government is going ahead with the procurement of 126 French combat aircraft and effort is being made to complete the deal within this financial year.

Contract negotiations for the multi-billion dollar deal will resume soon, Government sources told PTI here.

Questions had been raised over the process by an MP besides some other quarters but a committee of independent monitors has given a clean chit to the process, they said.

Government is making efforts to conclude the deal during this financial year, sources said.

The examination of the process was ordered by Defence Minister A K Antony after former MP Mysura Reddy questioned the method of selecting Rafale as the lowest bidder for the deal.

Responding to the charges levelled by him, Antony had recently issued a letter to the former TDP MP saying that the Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) has been directed to proceed to complete its deliberations and finalise its report.

In his letter to Reddy, Antony said, "the issues raised by you were examined by Independent monitors who have concluded that the approach and methodology adopted by the CNC in the evaluation of the commercial proposals thus far has been reasonable and appropriate and within terms of the Request for Proposal and Defence Procurement Procedure."

"Before any further action is taken, the entire issue of approach and methodology adopted by the CNC to determine the L-1 vendor as well as your letter and other references received in this regard will be re-examined by the Defence Ministry to ascertain that the entire procurement process is reasonable, appropriate and as per the laid down procedure," Antony had said.