Rafale Controversy: Indian Firm Denies Irregularities After French Media Report Claims €1 Mn Paid To Middleman In Deal

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The Logical Indian Crew

Rafale Controversy: Indian Firm Denies Irregularities After French Media Report Claims €1 Mn Paid To Middleman In Deal

A multibillion-dollar deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets from France has stirred a massive controversy in India after a French media report claimed it involved €1 million to a “middleman” in India as a "gift".

Defsys Solutions Pvt Ltd, the company named in a French media report for receiving a whopping 1 million euros as "a gift" from Rafale jet maker Dassault Aviation, said in a statement on Tuesday, April 6, that it had supplied 50 replicas of the fighter jet to the aircraft maker.

"This is in response to wholly unsubstantiated, baseless and misleading claims appearing in certain sections of the media, insinuating that Defsys never supplied 50 replica models of Rafale aircraft," Defsys said in an e-mail statement to The Logical Indian.

"Delivery challans, E-way bills and GST returns related to such delivery have been duly filed with the relevant authorities," the statement added.

The French journal report 'Mediapart' had reported that Dassault said that the money was used to pay for replica models but failed to provide any evidence to the French anti-corruption agency, gence Française Anticorruption.

The report said that the anti-corruption agency, "discovered this separate arrangement during a routine audit of Dassault."

"Dassault group was unable to provide the AFA (Agence Française Anticorruption) with a single document showing that these models existed and were delivered, and not even a photograph. The inspectors thus suspected that this was a bogus purchase designed to hide hidden financial transactions," the report said.

The audit report said that the invoice related to 50% of the total order of that amounted to over one million euros, and was meant for manufacture of the 50 models of Rafale. However, as AFA asked Dassault why it had ordered an Indian company to make models of its own aircraft, at 20,000 euros a plane, and the reason behind "gift to client", the aviation company failed to provide an explanation.

The Rafale jets constitute India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in more than two decades. The massive defence deal came four years after the Narendra Modi government signed a deal with France. All the 36 jets are to be delivered by 2022.

The deal had become a major political issue during the Lok Sabha election campaign in 2019.

The opposition had accused PM Modi of corruption and alleged that he was a "middleman" for industrialist Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal.

While the Congress Party has demanded a thorough independent inquiry into the controversial deal, defense experts maintain that the latest controversy should not hamper the delivery of the remaining jets.

Also Read: Rafale Deal: Jet Maker Dassault Paid One Million Euros To Indian Middleman As 'Gift', Report Finds

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