Lashing out at the Centre over the French report on the Rafale Deal, Congress on Monday, claimed that the Modi government was propagating 'crony capitalism', by bypassing mandatory aspects of the 'Defence procurement procedure'. Highlighting the French report by Mediapart.fr, which alleges that France's anti-corruption agency Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) suspects Dassault Aviation made payments to an India middleman who was arrested by Enforcement Directorate in 2019 in connection with the VVIP chopper scam, Congress asked PM Modi to answer the nation on these allegations.
The Congress posed three questions based on the AFA's claims that Dassault Aviation paid 1.1 million Euro to middleman "Defsys solutions' which has been shown as 'Gifts to clients' which was explained as manufacturing of 50 models of Rafale by Dassault:
The allegations of causing Loss to Public Exchequer, Bribery & Payment of Commission in India’s biggest Defence Deal, i.e. Purchase of 36 Rafale Jet Fighters from Dassault Aviation once again stare in the Face of Modi Government!— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 5, 2021
Our Statement-: pic.twitter.com/lzjV471TnE
As per Mediapart.fr's report, AFA has found a suspicious payment of 1 million euros by Dassault Aviation to an Indian middleman Defsys Solutions for 50 models of Rafale aircraft which were to be given as “gifts" in 2016. The middleman is now accused of money laundering in India in the VVIP chopper scam. The report states that AFA had allegedly pulled up Dassault after no proof was provided for the manufacturing of these aircraft models yet, adding that AFA 'dropped' the matter citing that the “query was settled” after Rafale explained the process to it. Reports state that Defsys is contracted to carry out maintenance of Rafale simulators at both the Ambala base and the Hasimara base.
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi had raised questions on the Rafale deal in Parliament on why only 26 aircraft were being acquired when 126 were needed. On the pricing of the Rafale jet, he had asked why it was changed from Rs 526 crore each to Rs 1600 crore each and questioned choosing Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence for the joint venture with Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) over HAL. These allegations were denied by then-Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, affirming that no government approvals were required for the joint venture between two private companies. Moreover, the Supreme Court dismissed all the petitions seeking a probe into the alleged irregularities in the deal and gave a clean chit to the Union government on the deal.