New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday broke his silence for the first time since former French president Francois Hollande claimed that it was the Indian government which suggested the name of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence as the offset partner in the Rafale deal. Denying the role of the Indian government in the selection of Ambani-led company as offset partner, Jaitley said that the Dassault and Reliance selected themselves in the deal.

“There is no ‘partnership’, as suggested by the former President, with regard to the 36 Rafale aircraft to be supplied by Dassault Aviation to the Govt. of India. It was a Govt. to Govt. agreement under which the complete weaponised aircraft are to come to the Indian Air Force. The offset partner is selected entirely by the Dassault Aviation, the original equipment manufacturer, and neither the French Government and nor the Indian Government has any say in the matter,” he said in a Facebook post.

Attacking Francois Hollande for his claims, the Finance Minister said the ex-president contradicted his own statements with regard to the Rafale deal. “The French government and M/s Dassault Aviation have categorically denied the correctness of the former President’s first statement. The French Government has stated that the decision with regard to the offset contracts of Dassault Aviation is taken by the company and not the government,” he said.

Read the full Facebook post here:

“This puts to rest the controversy which is sought to be created on the basis of a statement made by the former French President Hollande. Without commenting on the correctness or otherwise of a controversy in the French media, it may be mentioned that the former French President, Hollande, is countering statement made against him with regard to a conflict of interest in his dealings with the Reliance Defence,” Jaitley said.

Reiterating that the partners (Dassault and Reliance) selected themselves, he said, “this contradicts his first questionable statement which the French Government and Dassault have denied. The facts contradict the same. His second statement in Montreal, Canada to AFP makes the veracity of his first statement even more questionable. In this terse perspective, the Congress Party’s hullabaloo is their struggle to remain relevant.”

Attacking Congress party for first attacking Hollande accusing him of taking a bribe from the Indian company and then using him as a primary witness as the ex-president made claims in the Rafale deal, Jaitley said that this is “classic Congress faux pas”.