Published: Sun, September 23, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Ex French President Hollande and the Rafale deal controversy

Ex French President Hollande and the Rafale deal controversy

"Is the French ex-President lying or our Prime Minister Modi is not saying the truth?"

Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani yesterday slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his comments on Prime Minister, saying he is desperate to attract attention. "This is from a President of France, who had a one-to-one meeting with the PM where the Rafale deal was decided", Gandhi said while addressing a press conference in the national capital.

It interviewed Hollande on phone in which he said: "I intervened in this affair (Rafale) with the two prime ministers, to say that I was keen for this negotiation. We are absolutely convinced that the Prime Minister of India is corrupt".

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. Mr Hollande's office reiterated his stand this morning in their reply to NDTV. Whether or not the Modi government had any direct role to play in making Reliance Defence an offset partner of Dassault will be extremely hard to prove.

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. There is clear corruption in the Rafale deal and the decision was taken by the PM and the person who benefitted had travelled with the PM to France.

Under the Rafale deal, France must spend amounts totalling around half the eight billion euros ($9.4 bn) paid by the Indian government.

"We did not have a say in that".

Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after holding talks with then French President Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris.

"The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected by French companies", a French foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement on Friday. Party chief Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to state that the Rafale deal was doctored "behind closed doors" by PM Modi. "He is morally not suitable for the post now", Kharge said, adding that any Cabinet minister should be appointed prime minister. The Congress has been questioning the price and the choice of the offset partner.

The Congress and other opposition parties latched on to the report and stepped up their attack on the Modi government over the deal.

"The Indian government proposed this partner and Dassault negotiated with Ambani", Hollande said, according to the report posted on September 21 that referred to the Ambani family, who are dominant in the Indian business world.

The party alleges Modi gave preferential treatment to industrialist Anil Ambani, the billionaire chairman of Reliance Group, to the detriment of state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

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