The deal for procuring 126 combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) has entered troubled waters as Defence Minister A K Antony has decided to review the entire process to determine the lowest bidder in the deal bagged by French Rafale after defeating European Eurofighter.
The Defence Ministry has also resumed the process of negotiating the price of the 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) with French Dassault Aviation after it was halted briefly following objections from former MP Mysura Reddy.
"The Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) has been directed to proceed to complete its deliberations and finalise its report. 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 said in a letter to Reddy.
Reddy had earlier written to Antony alleging the Defence Ministry had violated the evaluation process and arrived at an "incorrect decision" with regard to the Rafale being the lowest bidder.
"I am also given to understand that the Rafale aircraft has not been sold to any country. Why should India buy a combat aircraft that no other country has purchased?" he had written.