Hollande fuels Rafale scam; Modi under pressure to quit

Arun Jaitley reiterated that neither the Indian nor the French government had a role in Dassault Aviation choosing the local partner

Senior ministers, including defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and finance minister Arun Jaitley, have dismissed any suggestion of a government role in the choice of Reliance. Predictably, it only gets more intense in an election year. According to a source in government, Gautam Adani, founder of the Adani Group, was the only other person present for at least a part of the Modi-Turnbull meeting in Canberra.

The weak and half hearted attempts, of cabinet minsters and their supported media houses to shield Narendra Modi by waving clarifications issued by French govt, Dassault Aviation and BJP leaders, look like a comedy circus. On the thirteenth day, PM Modi announced from France "I have asked President (François Hollande) to supply 36 ready-to-fly Rafale jets to India".

December 12, 2017: While Congress party continued with its allegations of union government allegedly favouring Anil Ambani's Reliance at the cost of HAL, Reliance Defence LTD's CEO Rajesh Dhingra said that his company received the joint venture contract directly from Dassault and Government had no role to play in it.

Former French president Francois Hollande has fuelled controversy over India's multi-billion-dollar 2016 purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets, saying that France was given no choice on the Indian partner for manufacturer Dassault. "Let a JPC be formed... let's invite Hollande also... everything will become clear", he said. He pointed out that Hollannde who is not in office any longer was under no serious political compulsion to make the remarks.

The statement from French Government is a straight-forward one.

"We want the Defence Minister to throw light on this", he added.

"The PM personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors. Shame on you. You betrayed India's soul". "He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers", Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

On Saturday, Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet that the "PM and Anil Ambani jointly carried out a One Hundred & Thirty Thousand Crore SURGICAL STRIKE on the Indian Defence forces".

On Saturday, Prime Minister Modi did speak about "PC (percentage commission)". Rafale comes up with the lowest bid.

Paris was "in no way involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners", it added. "Isn't that a decision for a commercial enterprise [the Rafale-maker, Dassault Avions] to take on their own?", she had asked the Indian Express interviewer with rhetorical flourish and, presumably, with her eyes flashing fury (as television usually shows her in high dudgeon, addressing the Press). Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokespersons have already taken the line that Hollande had falsely alleged that New Delhi had done Ambani a favour, in order to deflect charges that he had done the favour himself, as a quid pro quo for the financing extended to Gayet. It clearly states - Dassault as a French company is free to chose its Indian partner as per the DPP and they never influenced the decision of Dassault.

Anil Ambani entered the Defence business by incorporating a new company on 28 March 2015.

The implied "conflict of interest" relates to the Reliance Group's investment of Euro 1.6 million in 2016, in a film produced by Hollande's partner, actress Julie Gayet. "We worked with the interlocutor that was given", said Hollande. "It's also going to drop some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks".

This has nothing to do with the Government of India and, therefore, any private industry having benefited from the Government of India is a complete lie. He asserted, irrespective of the allegations, the Rafale deal will not be cancelled. These were the concluding lines in an op-ed titled "Impatience seals worst possible defence deal" in the New Indian Express of April 17, 2015.

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