The Ministry of Defence has issued yet another statement on Rafale controversy, reiterating that the Government of India had no role as far as selecting the offset partner for the commercial deal is concerned. The statement has also mentioned that Dassault Aviation and Reliance were on the brink of striking a deal back in the year 2012 too when UPA was in power. While dubbing the row around Rafale as “unnecessary controversies, the MoD said the statement purportedly made by the former French President, Francois Hollande, concerning the selection of Reliance Defence as the Offset partner by Dassault, the manufacturers of Rafale aircraft needs to be seen in its full context.
The release by the MoD said that the French media raised “issues of conflict of interest involving persons close to the former President (Francois Hollande). His subsequent statements are also relevant in this regard, adding, “the Government has stated earlier and again reiterates that it had no role in the selection of Reliance Defence as the Offset partner.”
While pointing at the fact that even in 2012, when the UPA was in power, Dassault Aviation had entered into a pact for partnership with Reliance Industries in Defence Sector, the MoD said:
“Incidentally, media reports of February, 2012 suggest that Dassault Aviation, within two weeks of being declared the lowest bidder for procurement of 126 aircraft by the previous Government, had entered into a pact for partnership with Reliance Industries in Defence sector.”
While citing a press release issued by Dassault Aviation, earlier in the day, the MoD said that the company has signed partnership agreement with several companies and is negotiating with hundred odd other companies, while once again reiterating that the “Government of India has no role in the selection of Indian Offset partner which is a commercial decision of the OEM.”
Dassault Aviation, in a press release, had stated that to choose Reliance Group as a partner was its own choice. Furthermore, the French government has also dismissed former President Francois Hollande’s claim and mentioned it was a private to private negotiation.
Meanwhile, escalating the fight over Rafale, Congress President Rahul Gandhi demanded PM Narendra Modi’s statement on the French media report. Rahul Gandhi directly accused PM Modi of corruption and repeated his ‘chor’ attack and claimed that ex French President called him a ‘thief’.