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SOURCE: Express News Service

The Rafale controversy took another turn Wednesday with a French journal claiming that it had a document which shows that Dassault considered its alliance with Reliance as “imperative and mandatory” to bag the contract. “Two years after signing the contract of sale of Rafale to India, the ultra-modern plant planned by the joint-venture of Dassault with its Indian partner Reliance comes down to a building that looks like a warehouse.

While a new complaint was filed in New Delhi, a document obtained by Mediapart shows that Dassault considered this alliance as a “counterpart” and “imperative and mandatory”, to bag the deal,” says the latest report by the French journal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the revised deal to buy 36 Rafale jets after talks with President Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris.

Anil Ambani was part of a business delegation that travelled with Modi on that visit.In September 2018, Mediapart had quoted former President Francois Hollande as saying that “We did not have a say in this… the Indian government proposed this service group and Dassault negotiated with (Anil) Ambani group. We did not have a choice, we took the partner who was given to us.”

That report also noted that just before the deal was struck, “Reliance provided funding for a film produced by Hollande’s personal partner, the actress Julie Gayet.”

“The opposition Congress, as well as former BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, have accused the government of massive irregularities and crony capitalism in the deal. However, the government and the Indian defence forces have denied this, with a defence ministry spokesperson saying “neither GoI (government of India) nor the French Government had any say in the commercial decision.”

A French journalist told TNIE that while he had not read the full report, Karl Laske and Antton Rouget, the two investigative journalists who filed the report, “had impeccable credentials,” although Mediapart was seen as an “anti-establishment” journal.