A French judge has been assigned to investigate the sceptical Rafale deal between India and France. The allegations of favouritism towards Anil Ambani's Reliance and "corruption" in the agreement with Dassault Aviation have surfaced again. Several political parties, the Opposition and other critics are pointing fingers at the Union Government once again.
The Parquet National Financier (PNF) or National French Prosecutor had previously refused to investigate the matter in 2019 when the then head Eliane Houlette had disregarded a complaint filed by a French anti-corruption NGO Sherpa.
Possible Financial Fraud
French media organization named Mediapart has been unveiling a number of possible financial frauds in the deal over the last two months. Following the revelations, the European Nation ordered a fresh investigation.
An eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan, was amongst the first to move to the Supreme Court to order a probe into the matter. However, the Apex Court had dismissed the allegations contending that there was no firm ground for the FIR. In a statement, Mr Bhushan told The Wire, "The Mediapart story further corroborates the whole string of evidence which we had placed before the Supreme Court seeking an independent investigation into the deal." He further said that it was unfortunate that then CJI Ranjan Gogoi preferred to accept what the government told them blindly. After that, he mentioned that the former Chief Justice was offered a Rajya Sabha seat.
The Mediapart report alleges that business tycoon Anil Ambani might have already signed an agreement with Dassault Aviation two weeks before PM Modi announced the Rafale deal. This new deal between Ambani's Reliance Group and Dassault Aviation in which India would receive 36 ready-to-fly jets for Rs 59,000 crore. It replaced the previous agreement with Dassault of 126 Rafale Jets with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), out of which 108 would be manufactured in India.