Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

No choice given, India suggested Reliance for Rafale deal: Hollande

No choice given, India suggested Reliance for Rafale deal: Hollande

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had "betrayed" India.

Union Minister Ananth Kumar tweeted, "Nailing the lie on its head - misinformation about Rafale deal, Dassault being called out by the French government".

"Why is the prime minister silent?"

In his sharpest attack yet on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal, Congress President Rahul Gandhi today said "former French president Francois Hollande is calling the Prime Minister of India a thief" and that the PM needs to break his silence.

Spokesperson of France's Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said that the French government had no role to play in choosing partner companies in India for the objective of offsets contracts in the Rafale deal.

In a two-hour interaction, the Congress president continually alleged that the RSS was out to attack independent institutions and was trying to take over the education system.

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"In accordance with the Indian procedure, French companies have full freedom to choose the Indian industrial partners they consider to be most pertinent and then to propose to the Indian government for approval the offset projects they want to carry out in India with local partners to respect their obligations", it added.

Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused PM Modi of being "corrupt", saying former French president Francois Hollande's remarks on Reliance Defence shows "clear cut" corruption in the Rafale deal. Dassault Aviation and Reliance have built a plant in Nagpur for manufacturing parts for Falcon and Rafale aircraft. The Modi govt has lied and misled Indians.

In a tweet sent out after the news broke, the authorised Twitter handle of the Indian Ministry of Defence said the French media reports were being verified and the Indian government did not proposed Ambani's name. Reliance Defence is not making components for the Rafales ordered by India but is building assemblies for Dassault business jets.

Hollande has been quoted in an article by the French website as claiming that the Indian government had asked the French government to nominate Reliance Defence as its India partner in the Rafale jet offset deal.

"The RM (Rafale Minister) tasked with defending corruption has been caught lying again. It is a matter related to defence forces, it is a matter related to corruption", he said. The Congress has been accusing massive irregularities in the deal, alleging that the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government when it was negotiating procurement of 126 Rafale jets. "It is reiterated that neither GoI nor the French government had any say in the commercial decision".

Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint's publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. "If you can wipe out Rs 250,000 crore loan of the richest people in India, why cannot you give relief to farmers", he said.

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