Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, on Saturday, 13 April, held a press conference over the French media report claiming that the French authorities waived tax dues worth 143.7 million euros of a French company belonging to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group. The report said that the waiver came after the Rafale deal was signed.
Launching a fresh attack on the ruling BJP over the Rafale deal, Surjewala said that the fact that a particular company reaped benefits on multiple instances shows that the prime minister has been acting as a ‘middleman’ in the entire deal.
“Modi hai toh mumkin hai,” he said, taking a dig at the prime minister.
Earlier, he had tweeted, saying that the ‘corruption’ and ‘money trail’ in the alleged Rafale scam has been exposed by the report.
Is the ‘Corruption’ & ‘Money trail’ in the #RafaleScam finally out?— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 13, 2019
Is PM Modi-Anil Ambani connection finally out?
Sensational & Explosive!
Pl wait for a Spl. AICC PC at 1.30 PM today.
Surjewala, in his press conference, also said that between 2017-2018, Dassault Aviation had injected Rs 284 crore in Reliance Airport Developers Ltd after the Rafale advance payment was made for the 36 fighter jets. At the time, Reliance Airport Developers Ltd had a turnover of just Rs 5 lakh, alleging that the give and take of finances are being traced back to only Anil Ambani’s companies.
CPI(M) senior leader Sitaram Yechury also raised the issue in a series of tweets, alleging that the nexus is ‘out in the open’ and it shows that the Modi government benefited a ‘crony businessman’.
Modi goes to France, compromises national security by signing on fewer aircraft, gives deal to crony Ambani, HAL is kept out.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) April 13, 2019
So the public pays 41% higher amount for fewer aircraft and crony also gets massive tax breaks. Modi formula of helping his rich friends. #RafaleScam https://t.co/LCsoLRpWMU
The whole nexus is now coming out into the open. PMO was directly involved in Rafale scam bypassing our Air Force, and NSA was illegally negotiating in Paris. As former French President said, Modi asked for Anil Ambani as a partner for the deal. And now this - French tax waivers pic.twitter.com/djgZxkLzax— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) April 13, 2019
So, our public money is used by Modi govt to pay exorbitantly more for far fewer Rafale fighters than required, to benefit a crony businessman through the defence deal and French tax benefit. No wonder BJP introduced secret Electoral Bonds for party funding, legalising corruption https://t.co/zyMEqtFGAV— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) April 13, 2019
The Le Monde Report
In a fresh controversy, a report from French publication Le Monde stated that authorities in France waived 143.7 million euros in tax dues from a French firm owned by Anil Ambani.
The report claimed that these tax recoveries, which were relentlessly pursued by the French tax authorities for years, were dropped months after the Modi government negotiated the deal for 36 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft, for which Anil Ambani was a major offset partner.
According to the report, French authorities had found discrepancies in Reliance Flag Atlantic France’s overseas transactions within other Reliance companies. Alleging they didn’t follow transfer prices, French authorities fined the company twice, following two separate audits, for 60 million euros and 91 million euros, according to the report.
After the first audit, the company had offered to settle the matter with a payment of 7.6 million euros, which the French authorities had declined. However, months after the Rafale deal was signed, this old offer was accepted by the French authorities.
Reliance Communication Responds
Reliance Communication, soon after the report, sent out a clarification statement, saying that the tax issue pertains to a nearly 10-year-old issue. The statement, denying any tax relief, said that Reliance Flag had earlier said that the tax demands by the French authorities were completely unsustainable and illegal.
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