Dassault CEO lying, claims Rahul Gandhi

NEW DELHI, NOV 2 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 11/2/2018 11:46:25 AM IST


Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday launched a fresh salvo against the Bharatiya Janata Party government over the Rafale deal, alleging that Anil Ambani owned Reliance Defence got kickbacks from Dassault. He claimed that the Dassault CEO Eric Trappier was lying to protect Narendra Modi.

Trappier, in an exclusive interview to CNBC-TV18 on 25 October, had said that Dassault picked Reliance over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as its partner because the Anil Ambani-led company had land near an airfield on the outskirts of Nagpur, where they could set up a production facility. He added that Dassault had been in discussions with both Reliance Defence and HAL, and that HAL was aware of its discussions with Reliance.

Rahul, while addressing the media on Friday, claimed that Dassault invested Rs 284 Crore in the company of Anil Ambani and the latter bought land with the same money. “Dassault invested Rs 284 Crore in the company of Anil Ambani. Anil Ambani bought land with the same money. This is clear that Dassault CEO is lying. Why did they invest Rs 284 crore in a loss-making company?” asked Rahul.

Rahul said that Modi was the only one to blame, stating that it is obvious he was the one to make the decisions. He stated that if an inquiry is started on Modi’s involvement, the prime minister would not survive the inquiry. “If an inquiry starts on this Modi is not going to survive it. Guaranteed. One, because of corruption. Two, because it’s very clear who the decision maker was...It was Narendra Modi and it was a deal done by Narendra Modi to give Anil Ambani Rs 30,000 crore,” said Rahul.

The Congress president also pointed out that before the deal, permission was not taken from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

Rahul further alleged that the CBI chief Alok Verma was removed because he wanted to look into the “open and shut” case. “Rafale is an open and shut case. CBI Director was removed because obviously, CBI was looking into these matters. Defence Minister flies to France and Dassault speaks in favour of Anil Ambani,” he said.

On   October 24 , former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan moved the Supreme Court, seeking registration of an FIR into the Rafale deal between India and France, alleging “criminal misconduct” by top public functionaries.

Reliance denial 

Meanwhile reacting to Rahul Gandhi’s allegations, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group on Friday trashed  Gandhi’s allegations   and charged the Congress with “distorting” facts to mount an “unwarranted” campaign against the company for political gains.

In a statement, the company said its chief Ambani was continuously being dragged into a political battle in view of the impending state and general elections.

“The Congress Party has today once again resorted to blatant lies and distorted facts to mount an unwarranted campaign of calumny and falsehoods against the Reliance Group and its Chairman Anil Ambani personally,” it alleged.

Gandhi on Friday alleged that Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale jets, paid Rs 284 crore to Reliance Defence as the “first installment of kickbacks” and claimed Prime Minster Narendra Modi was having “sleepless nights” fearing action if a probe was conducted into the aircraft deal.

He also alleged that CBI chief Alok Verma was removed as he wanted to investigate the deal.

Dassault Aviation has chosen Reliance Defence as one of its partners in India to fulfil the offset obligations of the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal.

Congress has been alleging that the government had put pressure on Dassault Aviation to make Reliance its offset partner for the deal.Both Reliance and Dassault Aviation rejected the charges.

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