Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday made a fresh allegation that Dassault Aviation had paid “kickbacks” to the Anil Ambani group to secure the Rafale deal. He also claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was spending “sleepless nights” as he would not “survive” if the Rafale deal was probed.
Mr. Gandhi’s claims were made on the basis on Dassault Aviation’s annual report of 2017 as well as the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure’s annual report, where Dassault Aviation is shown to have made an investment of ₹284 crore in Reliance Airport Developers Limited (RADL).
Mr. Ambani’s company termed the latest allegation “a blatant lie.” In a statement, the company said: “Dassault’s investment in Reliance Airport Developers Limited has no link whatsoever with the Rafale contract between the Government of India and France.”
“The Congress party has falsely alleged that the funds invested in RADL have been used for the purchase of land at Mihan, Nagpur for the Dassault-Reliance joint venture,” Reliance Groups said in a statement.
Mr. Gandhi, however, had earlier described the Dassault investment in RADL as kickback for the Rafale deal. “If an inquiry starts on this [Rafale deal], Mr. Modi is not going to survive it, guaranteed,” Mr. Gandhi said at a press conference at the party headquarters.
“One, because of corruption and two because it is very clear who the decision maker was. Nobody will be able to say that it was a general in the Air Force or the Defence Minister or some bureaucrat in the Defence Ministry. It is clear who the man was, and it was Narendra Modi and the deal done to give Anil Ambani ₹30,000 crore,” he added.
The Congress chief also targeted the Dassault Aviation boss for lying.
“Dassault CEO (Eric Trappier) had claimed his company chose Reliance as its offset partner because it had land available next to an airport. But now it has been revealed that the land was bought by the money that was invested by Dassault. The CEO is lying,” Mr. Gandhi said.
“The big question is why a firm would invest ₹284 crore in a company with a capital of just over ₹8 lakh and is loss making? It is clear cut that this (investment) is the first instalment of kickback given by Dassault.”
‘CBI probe scuttled’
He said if Mr Modi had nothing to hide, then he would have been open to an inquiry and alleged that CBI Director Alok Verma was removed to avoid an inquiry.
“If the Prime Minister was not involved, he would have said ‘let there be an inquiry by the CBI or the Supreme Court’. But he is silent. He has lost his sleep because of tension because he knows he will be caught,” he said.