An amount of 508,925 Euros was paid under "gifts to clients" head in the 2017 accounts of the Dassault Group to Indian middleman, an investigation by the French publication Mediapart has revealed.
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Rafale was originally shortlisted in the Medium Multi-Role Contract Aircraft (MMRCA) deal for 126 jets, but the deal was put off overpricing and technology issues.
In April 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the direct purchase of 36 jets citing “critical operational necessity” of the Indian Air Force during a visit to France.
"The company said the money was used to pay for manufacturing 50 large replica models of Rafale jets, even though the inspectors were given no proof that these models were made," Mediapart reported.
The NDA’s decision to input an $8.7 billion government-to-government deal with France to buy the 36 Rafale warplanes made by Dassault was announced in April 2015, with an agreement signed a little over a year later. They claimed it to be an emergency purchase by India.
The Congress, addressing a press conference on the allegations, in positioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement, demands probe but BJP terms charge baseless.
The 2016 Rafale deal between India and France included the payment of 1.1 million Euros by aviation major Dassault to an Indian middleman. That middleman is now accused of money laundering in India in another defense deal. Dassault further stated that they paid the money for 50 replicas of Rafale fighter planes ordered from a Defence Company.
Dassault had provided AFA with a “proforma invoice” dated March 30, 2017, supplied by an Indian company, Defsys Solutions, which according to the AFA investigation report was related to 50% of the total order (€1,017,850), for manufacturing 50 models of the Rafale C, with a price per unit of €20,357.
This anomaly was first inspected by the inspectors of the French Anti-Corruption Agency, Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA), during their scheduled audit.
In September 2020, the IAF inducted the batch of five Rafales of 36 jets contracted from France under the €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and France signed in September 2016 with 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE).