Dassault rejects allegations of Rahul Gandhi in connection with Rafale deal
Dassault Aviation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Trappier on Tuesday rejected allegations made by Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi in connection with the Rafale fighter jets deal between India and France.
In an interview with the news agency ANI, Eric Trappier responded to a question on the allegations by the Congress party, saying, “I don’t lie”. He said, “I don’t lie. The truth I declared earlier and the statements I made are true. I don’t have a reputation of lying. In my position as CEO, you don’t lie.”
On Rahul Gandhi’s charge that Dassault, to bag India’s 59,000 crore order for 36 Rafale jets, chose Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as an offset partner despite its inexperience in the field, the CEO said, “We chose Ambani by ourselves. We already have 30 partners other than Reliance.”
He also noted that the money being invested was not going directly to Reliance directly but in a joint venture. The rebuttal by the French firm’s CEO comes almost 10 days after Rahul Gandhi accused the company of paying “first trench of kickbacks of Rs 284 crore” to Anil Ambani.
Trappier further recalled the association of the French company with the Congress party in the past, saying that the first deal with India was struck in 1953, under the government of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
He said, “We have a long experience with the Congress party. Our first deal was with India in 1953 with Nehru and other prime ministers. We have been working with India. We are not working for any party. We are supplying strategic products like fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian government. That is what is most important.”
Rahul Gandhi had earlier said, “Dassault gave Rs 284 crore to a loss-making company with a valuation of Rs 8.3 lakh. This is the first instalment of kickbacks that has been given to Anil Ambani.” Targeting PM Modi, the Congress President had also tweeted, “Rs 284 crore of Rafale kick-back money has been traced to an Anil Ambani owned company. The stench of corruption is leading straight to the gates of Race Course Road.”
In the meantime, the Reliance group completely rejected the allegations and said the RADL transaction was completed in full compliance with applicable FDI and all other rules and regulations and the information has been disclosed in public domain since December 2017 onwards.