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    After Rahul’s Rs 8000 crore jibe, Centre says process of buying VVIP aircraft began under UPA


    These aircrafts are not the ‘Prime Minister’s aircrafts’ but will be used for other VVIPs as well; they belong to the Indian Air Force and not the Prime Minister, said government sources.

    NEW DELHI: After Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday criticised the Narendra Modi government for buying two expensive VVIP aircraft, government sources said the process for buying them began in 2011 under the UPA tenure and that the present government had simply brought that process to a logical conclusion.

    Gandhi, while on a tour of Punjab, said no question was asked by the media on why PM Modi had bought planes for Rs 8,000 crore which had “50 beds” and accused Modi of buying them because “his friend Donald Trump has them and he also wanted it.”

    Government sources said the process for procuring these planes had began around a decade ago in 2011 under the UPA Government while the Modi government has simply brought this process to a logical conclusion.

    “These aircraft are not the ‘PM’s aircraft’ but will be used for other VVIPs as well. These aircraft belong to the Indian Air Force and not the PM,” the government sources said. They added that the present aircraft used for VVIP travel till now, the Air India jumbo jets, are over 25 years old. “Not only are they incapable of long, trans-Atlantic flights, forcing halt enroute for refueling and replenishment purposes. They are also fuel guzzlers of epic proportions,” sources said.

    The government also put out a chronology of the process of acquisition, saying the process of acquisition of two new aircraft for the travel of VVIPs commenced in 2011 when upon direction of Group of Ministers (GOM), a meeting of Committee of Secretaries (CoS) was held wherein it was decided that an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) would examine the available options for long term arrangement of VVIP aircraft.

    “In the same year, an IMG coordinated by Cabinet Secretariat was set up to consider all the options, including acquisition, management and utilization of aircraft for VVIP operations. The IMG met around ten times and submitted recommendations in 2012. Two options were recommended- convert an existing B777 ER, or using one of the new ones that were ordered by Air India but yet to be delivered,” sources said.

    They said the Cabinet Secretariat had recommended transfer of the aircraft to the Indian Air Force in August, 2013.

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    17 Comments on this Story

    RajeshK50 days ago
    Did anyone check this:
    Vijayan Paliath51 days ago
    Clown Prince does not know what he is talking about most of the time. Very sad plight of th eprincipal opposition party.
    Damodar Biswal51 days ago
    This joker foes not know that the plane was ordered during UPA times.
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