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"I Repeat, PM Is Corrupt," Says Rahul Gandhi After New Rafale Report

NDTV logo NDTV 11-10-2018 Reported by Sunil Prabhu, Edited by Deepshikha Ghosh
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(Video provided by The Times of India)

Hours after a French media report said aviation company Dassault had to select Anil Ambani's company for joint venture as a "mandatory" trade-off to win the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi declared that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is corrupt" and the "PM of Anil Ambani".

A report by Mediaport said a top Dassault official, Loik Segalen, had explained to his staff at a presentation last year that the joint venture with Reliance Defence was "imperative and obligatory for Dassault Aviation, to accept this condition, in order to obtain the export contract for Rafale from India".

"It is absolutely clear that the prime minister is corrupt. I repeat, the prime minister of India is a corrupt man... and sadly, his entire campaign was on fighting corruption," Rahul Gandhi said at a press conference in the Congress office.

"He is actually not your prime minister. He is Anil Ambani's prime minister." The Congress president questioned Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's visit to France in the middle of the huge political controversy at home.

a fighter jet flying through a blue sky: uhqc8qcg © Provided by NDTV Convergence Ltd. uhqc8qcg

Rafale deal: A report claimed France did not have a choice in selecting Anil Ambani's rookie defence company. "Now you see the defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, suddenly leaving for France... that too to visit Dassault... One wonders what the emergency is," he questioned.

Mr Gandhi alleged that the defence minister had gone to "put pressure" on Dassault. "And let me make one more thing very clear... Dassault is sitting on a massive contract... It will obviously say whatever the Indian government wants it to say. But look at the internal documentation in Dassault... that makes it clear as to what had happened"," he claimed.

Mediapart's article reinforces the explosive statement by former French president Francois Hollande last month that France did not have a choice in selecting Anil Ambani's rookie defence company for the offset clause in which  Dassault has to ensure that business worth at least half the deal's worth -- Rs.30,000 crore -- is generated in India. Dassault had said even then that the decision was its own.

Mediapart stood by its latest report. "These are minutes of a meeting held on May 11, 2017 within the office of Dassault Aviation company which fully confirms the statement of Mr. Hollande on the choice or the imposition of Reliance Group as Dassault's partner for the Rafale contract," Antonn Rouget, a journalist with Mediapart, told NDTV in Paris.

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