New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday claimed that Dassault Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Trappier is lying that the company was not forced by the Narendra Modi-led government to pick Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as its partner in the Rafale fighter jets deal while alleging that Dassault Aviation paid Rs 284 crore to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the “first installment of kickbacks”. Also Read - Kerala Gold Smuggling Case: In Letter to PM, Congress Leader Calls For CBI Probe
“Dassault invested Rs 284 crore in the company of Anil Ambani. Anil Ambani bought land with the same money. This is clear that Dassault CEO is lying. Why did they invest Rs 284 crore in a loss-making company,” said Rahul Gandhi while asserting that Rafale is open and shut case and that it is simply a partnership between PM Narendra Modi and Anil Ambani. Also Read - PM Modi Meets President Kovind, Briefs Him on Issues of 'National And International' Importance
Attacking PM Modi, the Congress president said, “If an inquiry starts on this Mr Modi is not going to survive it. Guaranteed. One, because of corruption. Two, because it’s very clear who the decision maker was…It was Narendra Modi and it was a deal done by Narendra Modi to give Anil Ambani Rs 30000 crore.” Also Read - 'America Loves India', Donald Trump Thanks PM Modi For Independence Day Greetings
The Gandhi scion also alleged that Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma was removed as he wanted to investigate the deal.
In an interview to CNBC-TV18 earlier, Trappier claimed that Dassault picked up Reliance Defence as its partner as the latter had land near Nagpur, where they could set up a production facility. He also claimed that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was aware of its discussion with Reliance Defence.
Trappier’s statement came against the claims made by former France president François Hollande that the country “did not choose Reliance in any way” for the deal. He had asserted that it was the Indian government which gave the name of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence as its India partner in the Rafale jet deal. Hollande went on to say that Dassault Aviation had no choice but to ally with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Industries.