New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that Dassault Aviation had paid Rs 284 crores as the “first instalment of kickbacks” to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Ltd, and claimed Prime Minster Narendra Modi was having “sleepless nights” fearing action if a probe was conducted into the Rafale deal.
“Dassault gave Rs 284 crores to a loss-making company with a valuation of Rs 8.3 lakhs. This is the first instalment of kickbacks that has been given to Anil Ambani,” he said. He also alleged CBI chief Alok Verma had been removed as he wanted to investigate the deal. The Congress leader added: “Rafale is an open and shut case and there is only one man who has done corruption.”
In a statement later, Reliance said the company and its chief Anil Ambani were continuously being dragged into a political battle in view of the impending state and national elections, and noted that all previous allegations made by the Congress chief had been strongly denied by the government.
The Congress president alleged Dassault had invested Rs 284 crores in the company of Anil Ambani and that the latter had bought land with the same money. “This is clear that the Dassault CEO is lying. Why did they invest Rs 284 crore in a loss-making company?” Mr Gandhi asked. The Congress has alleged massive irregularities in the Rafale deal, saying the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crores, against the Rs 526 crores finalised by the UPA government when it had negotiated a deal for 126 Rafale fighter jets.
Dassault Aviation CEO Éric Trappier has said the reason the private firm was given the offset contract, and not state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, was that it had land for the project. The Congress has also been targeting the government over the choice of Reliance Defence Ltd as the offset partner for Dassault Aviation.