Dassault paid 1 million euro as 'gift' to Indian middleman in Rafale deal: French report, Rahul Gandhi Attacks Government, Talks About 'Karma'

by National | 06-04-2021 | 4262 views

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today slammed the government over the Rafale fighter jet deal, saying karma is the ledger of one's action and no one can escape it.

He said this after a French media report claimed that 1.1 million Euros was paid to a "middleman" by the aircraft manufacturer, a charge that was denied by the BJP as baseless.

Rahul Gandhi has been alleging that commissions have been paid in the Rafale deal, which the government has denied.

The Congress said Rahul Gandhi's often repeated allegations of corruption in the deal were proved correct after the French media report. 

The manufacturer of French combat jet Rafale agreed to pay one million euro to a middleman in India just after the signing of the Indo-French contract in 2016, an investigation by the French publication Mediapart has revealed. An amount of 508,925 euro was allegedly paid under "gifts to clients" head in the 2017 accounts of the Dassault group.

The irregularity was first discovered by the inspectors of the French Anti-Corruption Agency, Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA), during their scheduled audit of Dassault. "The company said the money was used to pay for the manufacture of 50 large replica models of Rafale jets, even though the inspectors were given no proof that these models were made," Mediapart reported citing the confidential audit report on Sunday evening. This amount "seemed disproportionate in relation to all the other entries", said a subsequent confidential report of the AFA audit.

The French Anti-Corruption Agency, however, did not flag the prosecution authorities over the alleged payment, which, according to the French publication, "raises questions over both the justice system and the political authorities". The audit coincided with a tip received by the French public prosecution services' financial crimes branch, the Parquet National Financier (PNF), in October 2018 which alleged irregularities in the defence deal.

According to the AFA report accessed by Mediapart, Dassault tried to justify "the larger than usual gift" with a proforma invoice from an Indian company called Defsys Solutions. Dated March 30, 2017, the invoice suggested that Defsys was paid 50 per cent of an order worth 1,017,850 for manufacturing of 50 dummy models of the Rafale jets. Each dummy, according to the AFA report, was quoted at a hefty price of 20,357.

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