New Delhi: Former French President François Hollande has sparked a controversy in the Rafale deal as in an interview he said that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offset clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal.
In an article published by French journal Mediapart, Hollande on a question about who selected Reliance as a partner and why said it was the Indian government that proposed Reliance’s name and Dassault had no choice but to take the company given to it.
“We did not have a say in that. The Indian government proposed this service group, and Dassault negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor we were given,” said Hollande. The interview was published in French and excerpts of Hollande’s interview were tweeted by French Newspaper LeMonde journalist Julien Boissou.
Hollande’s reported statement contradicts Indian government’s claim that the agreement between Dassault and Reliance was a commercial pact between two private parties and the government had nothing to do with it.
Thanking Hollande, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has betrayed India, and has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers.
“The Prime Minister personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani. The Prime Minister has betrayed India. He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Responding to the interview, Defence Ministry spokesperson tweeted: “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.”
The PM personally negotiated & changed the #Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani.
The PM has betrayed India. He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 21, 2018
Congress leader Manish Tewari on Friday immediately retweeted this article and asked Hollande: “President (Former) Francois Hollande should also enlighten us how the price went up from 590 crores in 2012 to 1690 crores in 2015 per Rafale fighter jet? Escalation of a mere 1100 crores. I am sure the Euro equivalent would not be a problem to calculate.”