Continuing his offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday quoted the latest reports in the French media publication Mediapart to accuse Mr Modi of being a corrupt person who directly putting Rs 30,000 people’s money into industrialists Anil Ambani’s pocket”,
Reiterating a demanded for a probe, Mr. Gandhi described Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s official trip to France as a “cover up” exercise.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr, Gandhi said even though officially Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of Rafale fighters, is going to say what the government of India wants it to say, there is “enough material for the truth to come out.”
Mr. Gandhi quoted from a report of the French publication Mediapart that cited an internal document of Dassault Aviation to claim that French aviation giant was ‘forced’ to sign a joint venture agreement with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as a trade-off to bag the contract for the 36 Rafale jet deal.
termed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s four day visit to France as a “cover up” exercise to put pressure on Dassault Aviation over the latest revelation on the Rafale fighter deal. “Why has suddenly the Defence Minister rushed to France? What is the emergency?” he asked.
In a subsequent tweet, Mr. Gandhi said, “The #GreatRafaleCoverUp has begun. To try and show the deal is legit, Raksha Mantri will need to generate minutes of imaginary meetings held between the French & our MOD [Ministr of Defence] & both sides will need to agree on a common story to be spun to the media. RM left for France last night.”
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, Mr. Gandhi said, “According to an internal document from Dassault obtained by Mediapart and revealed here, the alliance between the French Company and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group was a ‘compensation’ for the purchase of Rafales.”
‘Deal as compensation’
The document quoted by Mediapart is a summary by staff representatives who attended a briefing by Dassault Aviation’s Chief Operating Officer Segalen on the Dassault- Reliance Aerospace joint-venture.
“Mr. Segalen told representatives: ‘It was imperative and obligatory for Dassault Aviation to accept this compensation in order to obtain the Rafale India export contract’…. Compensation for what? What has Mr. Anil Ambani done? What is he being compensated for — that is the question,” Mr Gandhi said.
When referred to Dassault’s statement in response to Mediapart’s report that the company “has freely chosen to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group,” Mr Gandhi alleged they were under pressure.
“Dassault is sitting on a huge contract... Dassault is going to say what the Indian Government wants it to say,” Mr Gandhi said.