Had no role in selection of Reliance for Rafale deal

The deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015

Former French president Francois Hollande. Ahead of India's 2019 general election, in which Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party will campaign on its pro-poor policies and economic development record, the allegations of impropriety against the government could provide fuel to opposition critiques that the prime minister is too cozy with tycoons.

"Only Dassault can comment on this", Hollande told AFP on the sidelines of a meeting in Canada on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, Former French President Francois Hollande told the media that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offsets clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal.

The French government, too, had said that it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the deal.

Is the Congress president being untruthful or is he just unwittingly fumbling the numbers?

The French foreign ministry published a statement saying French authorities were not involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners involved in the Rafale deal.

The previous UPA government was negotiating with Dassault Aviation for procurement of 126 Rafale jets under which 18 jets were to supplied in a fly-away condition and 108 were to be manufactured in India by the French company along with HAL.

So far the French government, which has enormous economic and strategic stakes in letting the Rafale purchase go through smoothly, has remained silent on the Indian government's "nomination" of DRAL as a key offset partner.

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India's defence ministry wrote on Twitter that neither the Indian nor French government "had any say in the commercial decision". Escalation of a mere 1100 crores. "The Modi government should tell why the offset contract was given to Reliance Defence", Singh told reporters at a press conference in Nagpur. "I am sure the Euro equivalent would not be a problem to calculate", Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari tweeted.

Attacking the BJP over Rafale deal, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, "In the NDA negotiated Rafale aircraft deal, we have got no aircraft, we have got only lies".

Former defence minister Manohar Parrikar had said it was Modi who had finalised the Rafale deal with Hollande in 2015.

The report in Mediapart, a French-language publication, quoted Hollande as saying, "It was the Indian government that proposed this service group, and Dassault which negotiated with Ambani".

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said: "This Rafale deal is a scam if there was one".

Modi, who stormed to power in 2014 promising to rid India of deep-seated corruption, had no "moral right" to remain in power after the revelations from Hollande, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said. The whole truth must come out now.

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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