New Delhi: The Congress has made a hue and cry over Reliance Defence being given the offset contract in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France, but the party has a lot to answer on the “sweet deals” given to many dubious operators during 10 years of UPA rule.
The policy of asking foreign vendors to invest at least 30 per cent of the contract back in India was introduced by the UPA in 2005. Among those benefiting from the rule in previous government’s tenure include some of the tainted individuals in defence trade like Sanjay Bhandari, Vipin Khanna and Sudhir Choudhrie as offset contracts worth Rs 80,000 crore were finalised during the tenures of previous government.
Sanjay Bhandari, linked to Robert Vadra, had tried to steal the files relating to the UPA’s Rafale contract for rival aircraft companies, according to an internal ministry of home affairs report. Bhandari has been on the run.
The other person to have benefited from the policy was well-known arms agent Sudhir Choudhrie who is better known for having deep roots in India’s defence market and was also declared as “undesirable individual” by the CBI. His front company Alpha Design Technology is learnt to have bagged offsets worth Rs 1,000 crore during UPA rule.
In the AgustaWestland deal, that was scrapped on the allegations of kick-backs, former Union minister Santosh Bagrodia’s company IDH Infotech based in Chandigarh is said to be the key beneficiary is at got offset contracts worth Rs 1,400 crore.
Another company finds mention in this list is Defyss Solutions linked with another arms dealer Vipin Khanna. The company is believed to have received contracts worth around Rs 700 crore.
As per the offset policy, all capital procurements above Rs 300 crore needed investments of 30 per cent. The UPA signed contracts worth Rs 2,50,000 crore and another Rs 80,000 crores of offset agreements.
It has also been pointed out that when TATA Advance Systems and Mahindra got offset contracts in the C-130 J aircraft deal with US company Lockheed Martin, they had no experience in manufacturing aircraft and simulators.
The offset policy is in line with the global ways of doing business. India is the second biggest offset market after Saudi Arabia followed by Brazil, South Korea and UAE. But in terms of compounded annual growth rate of three percent, India is placed 14th with Indonesia, Poland, South Korea and Taiwan leading the pack....