Congress demands JPC probe into Rafale deal, says France has ordered investigation

·3-min read
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala (Photo/ANI)
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], July 3 (ANI): Launching a scathing attack on the Centre, Congress on Saturday demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal, stating that France has already initiated a judicial probe into the matter last month.

Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged "scandalous expose" of the 'Rafale Scam' involving massive corruption, treason, loss to public exchequer has finally been uncovered and laid bare.

"French website 'Mediapart' has made public all the evidence in the Reliance-Dassault deal. The Modi Government and 'sweetheart' deal (Rafale Deal) is clear now. Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi allow Joint Parliamentary Committee investigation now,""

According to a statement by Surjewala, "The French News Website, Mediapart.fr has also released details of the agreement inked between Reliance Infra and Dassault Aviation to constitute a Joint Venture Company called Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL), which substantiates the statement of the then French Prime Minister, Francois Hollande that decision to appoint Reliance as Dassault's industrial partner was that of PM Modi led government and that France 'had no choice' in the matter."

Surjewala said on June 14, 2021, French Public Prosecution Services i.e. PNF has ordered an investigation into "Rafale Papers" for "corruption", "influence peddling", "money laundering", "favouritism" on the complaint of French Anti-Corruption NGO, Sherpa.

"The investigation will cover among other elements, questions surrounding the actions of former French President, Francois Hollande, who was in office when the Rafale deal was inked, and current French President, Emmanuel Macron, who was at the time Hollande's Economy and Finance Minister, as well as the then Defence Minister, now Foreign Affairs Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian as also role of RInfra i.e. Reliance Infrastructure Limited," he said.

Highlighting five core points, the Congress leader said, "Firstly, Reliance owned 51 per cent and Dassault owned 49 per cent in the joint venture i.e. the company - DRAL. Secondly, Reliance and Dassault agreed to a maximum investment of 169 Million Euros. Dassault, with 49 per cent of the stake in DRAL, pledged to provide 159 Million Euros i.e. 94 per cent of the total maximum investment. Reliance with 51 per cent stake in DRAL was to bring only 10 Million Euros."

"Thirdly, Clause 4.4.1 of the agreement between Reliance and Dassault envisaged that Reliance will provide production facilities and marketing for programme and services with the GOI'. Obviously, this is a reference for the influence of Reliance on PM Modi led government. Fourthly, the agreement between Reliance and Dassault excluded Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Le. HAL as now DRAL was responsible for Rafale's 'Aircraft Final Assembly Line'", he said.

Speaking further, he said, "Fifthly, on 25th March, 2015, Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, in presence of Chief of Indian Air Force and Chairman of HAL, told in Bangalore that Dassault and HAL were in agreement in accordance with the RFP signed by them. Intriguingly, on 26th March 2015, Reliance and Dassault signed an MoU. This was just 15 days before the unilateral announcement by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on 10th April 2015 to purchase 36 Rafale Aircraft for 7.8 Billion Euros without transfer of technology and bypassing the Congress-UPA global tender to purchase 126 Aircrafts".

Surjewala said the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) must investigate the alleged corruption in the Rafale deal.

"Rafale Corruption finally Exposed JPC must investigate #Rafale Corruption The scandalous expose of 'Rafale Scam' involving Massive Corruption, Treason, Loss to Public Exchequer has finally been uncovered & laid bare Congress Party & Shri Rahul Gandhi stand vindicated today," he said.

Responding to Congress allegations, BJP said that the Opposition party lied about the Rafale deal again.

"Congress is synonymous with lies and myths. Today they lied about the Rafale deal, again. If a country's (France) NGO (Sherpa) complains against a charge and its financial prosecution body orders a probe accordingly, it should not be seen as corruption," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said. (ANI)

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