Centre ready to defend its stand in Parliament. Congress has been levelling allegations on the NDA government about a scam in the deal. Government still indecisive to disclose the price of the deal with French company

The government is getting battle-ready to combat an aggressive Opposition in the Parliament this winter session as it expects turbulence in proceedings over the Rs 59,000-crore Rafale aircraft deal.

More than five MPs have submitted written questions on the deal for the Parliament session starting on Friday and want to know whether the right procedures have been followed or not, sources told Mail Today.

In the last fortnight, the bureaucracy and the Indian Air Force officials have been going through documents of the agreement and preparing the ammunition for answering questions of opposition members to assert that there was no wrongdoing, sources said.

Led by its new chief Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has been levelling allegations on the NDA government about a scam in the aircraft deal, saying the price of the planes was highly inflated compared to what the UPA government had been negotiating from 2004 to 2014.

However, the government is also still deciding whether it can go against the contractual obligations or not under which it is bound not to disclose the price of the deal with French company.

"This is something which the government has to decide about as under the contractual obligations, the price of the planes cannot be divulged openly. However, there are ways of communicating that how the deal done by the NDA government is much better than the MMRCA contract that was being negotiated for, but could not be completed by the UPA establishment," a source has said.

As per the comparisons drawn by the government officials on the cost of the flyaway aircraft (planes ready for immediate flight), the NDA government has saved around 1.4 Billion Euros (Rs 12,000 crore) in the deal as the tender issued during the UPA era had envisaged importing 18 aircraft in flyaway conditions while the NDA government has done a deal for 36 aircraft in flyaway conditions.

However, there are many elements in the NDA deal which cannot be quantified in monetary terms like the mandatory requirement for the French side to maintain 75 per cent availability of the 36 aircraft at any point of time as this would ensure that more aircraft are available for operations, said sources.

At present, the Air Force has in general 55-60 per cent availability of the other fleets including the Su-30MKI which now forms the bulk of the strength.

The Air Force has also got a better deal in terms of air-to-air missiles including the MICA and the Meteor which would give it an edge over adversaries in times of war as they come with far greater striking ranges than what are available right now, officials say.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala has alleged that the Modi government violated the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) and bypassed the interests of public sector firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Congress leader claimed that while the UPA government had signed the Rafale deal as a joint venture between its French maker, Dassault Aviation, and India's HAL, the Modi government cancelled the entire process on July 30, 2015.