Paris: Former France president François Hollande on Saturday reiterated his statement on the selection of Reliance Defence as India Offset partner in Rafale deal saying that his country “did not choose Reliance in any way”. When asked whether India had put pressure on Reliance and Dassault to work together, the ex-President said he was unaware and “only Dassault can comment on this”. Also Read - Confined By Coronavirus, French Man Runs 42.2 Km Marathon on 7-Metre Balcony During Lockdown
Another interesting angle popped up with regard to the ongoing Rafale deal controversy which deepens the former French president’s connection with the multi-million dollar deal. (ALSO READ: Hollande Called Narendra Modi a Thief, PM Should Tell Truth & Save Dignity of His Office: Rahul Gandhi) Also Read - 'Efforts Made to Restore Normalcy But Curbs Should be Lifted,' Says French Envoy After Visiting Kashmir
Reacting to a media report that actor Julie Gayet (Hollande’s partner) had entered a deal with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment to produce two films two days before the former French president signed a MoU with PM Narendra Modi for delivering 36 Rafale aircraft, he said that there was no connection between the two deals. Also Read - France Reports First Coronavirus Casualty, Life of 80-year-old Chinese Tourist Claimed by Virus
Hollande further went on to deny any conflict of interest with Reliance and added that Reliance did not have to thank him for anything. He said, “That is why, moreover, this group (Reliance) did not have to give me any thanks for anything. I could not even imagine that there was any connection to a film by Julie Gayet.”
Hollande on Friday added fuel to the fire by saying 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.
Hollande had said, “We did not have a say in that. The Indian government proposed this service group, and Dassault negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor we were given.” The interview was published in French and parts of Hollande’s interview were tweeted by French Newspaper LeMonde journalist Julien Boissou.