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Rafale deal: French President François Hollande contradicts Defence Ministry claims


Divulging the minute details of the Rafale deal, French President François Hollande said that the French government had no role in choosing Reliance Defence as the offset partner and the name was only suggested by the Government of India.

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This came to light when the South Asia correspondent of French newspaper Le Monde, Julien Bouissou, tweeted excerpts of an interview of Hollande to a website where the French President contradicted India government’s claim that Dassault Aviation only picked Reliance Defence at its offset partner.

The Rafale deal for 36 fighter jets was signed during the tenure when Hollande was the President of France. His duration in the chair was from May 2012 to May 2017. The Defence Ministry though said that it was neither the India nor the French governments who decided about the offset partner and it was solely a commercial decision.

“The report referring to former French president Mr Hollande’s statement that GOI insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified. It is reiterated that neither GoI nor French Govt had any say in the commercial decision,” Defence Spokesperson tweeted.

Earlier, a report had claimed that couple of days before the Rafale deal was to be signed in 2016 between India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hollande for the delivery, an Indian businessman-owned company signed a deal for producing a film with The then French President’s partner and actor Julie Gayet. The report also said that the same Indian company received offset contracts of 1 lakh crore in the deal.

“On January 24, 2016, Reliance Entertainment and Julie Gayet’s firm, Rouge International, got together and announced that they shall jointly produce a French film called Tout La-Haut.

“It is now public knowledge that the head of this group accompanied Shri Narendra Modi to Paris, France, when the 36 Rafale aircraft agreements were signed on April 10, 2015. This All the Top’ agreement was a cherry on the cake on the murkier deals involving the entire sage of the Rafale Scam,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi’s allegations as quoted by DNA.

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