Former French President Francois Hollande’s stunning claims on Rafale deal sparked a major political storm in India on Friday.
In an interview to a French investigative news site Mediapart, Hollande claimed that it was the Indian government that had proposed the name of Anil Ambani’s company for the Rafalde deal and that it had no choice in this matter.
The statement gave the Congress ultimate fodder in the election year with the party saying that the former French president’s statement exposes Modi government’s lies in the multi-crore fighter jet deal.
Slamming the NDA government, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said that the PM had betrayed India and ‘dishonoured the blood of our soldiers.’
Gandhi took to Twitter to blast the government and said that, ‘the PM personally negotiated & changed the #Rafale deal behind closed doors.’
‘Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani,’ he added.
A French media report quoted former French President as purportedly saying that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale jet fighter deal and France did not have a choice.
Reacting to Hollande’s remark that is at variance with the stand taken by the Indian government, the defence ministry spokesman said on Friday,”The report referring to former French president Hollande’s statement that government of India insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified.”
The spokesperson also said, “It is reiterated that neither the government nor the French government had any say in the commercial decision.” Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, had chosen Reliance Defence as its partner to fulfill offset obligations of the deal. The government has been maintaining it did not have any role in selection of the offset partner.