Rafale Deal: French aerospace giant Dassault Aviation on Thursday rejected fresh allegations of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal with India, saying no violations were reported in the frame of the contract. Dassault’s rebuttal comes days after a French website ‘Mediapart‘ alleged that the company paid nearly one million Euros to an Indian middleman.
According to the French website, its report was based on an investigation conducted by the country’s anti-corruption agency Agence Francaise Anticorruption (AFA).
Countering the allegations, a Dassault Aviation spokesperson said: “Numerous controls are carried out by official organisations, including the French Anti-Corruption Agency. No violations were reported, notably in the frame of the contract with India for the acquisition of 36 Rafales.”
The spokesperson said Dassault Aviation, since the early 2000s, has “implemented strict internal procedures to prevent corruption, guaranteeing the integrity, ethics and reputation of the company in its industrial and commercial relations”.
In its report, Mediapart said that the Dassault claimed the money was paid for manufacturing 50 replicas of Rafale fighter jets and the order was given to an Indian defence company.
It also mentioned that the inspectors of the AFA were given no proof that these models were made and the company also did not provide any pictures of replicas made by the Indian vendor.
Following the allegations, the Indian company on Tuesday released a statement and tax invoices stating that the allegations were totally unfounded.
The Dassault official said the company reiterated that it acts in strict compliance with the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) anti-bribery convention and French laws, particularly the Sapin 2 law.
Under the Sapin 2 law that came into force in 2017, French companies are required to implement a specific internal compliance programme to fight corruption.
“In the context of the Sapin 2 law, the company has completed and strengthened its system for the prevention and detection of corruption and influence peddling, both at the level of the parent company and its subsidiaries,” Dassault said in the statement.
Rejecting the allegation of any wrong doing, the French defence giant said the Rafale deal was a government-to-government agreement.
“This (Rafale deal) contract, as well as the offsets corresponding contract, meet the criteria established by these regulations and are being executed in full transparency between the various government and industrial partners,” the Dassault Aviation said.
“Dassault Aviation and the Reliance Group established the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) joint venture in 2017 and built a plant in Nagpur that has been producing numerous Falcon parts and pieces since 2018,” said the company.
The French aircraft manufacturer said the company and its partners were working with 60 companies in India and negotiations were underway to establish potential new cooperations.
India and France signed a 7.87 billion euro (Rs 59,000 crore) government-to-government agreement in September 2016 to acquire 36 Rafale jets to meet urgent operational needs of Indian Air Force which faces the challenge of tackling both China and Pakistan in a two-front war scenario.
The company has delivered 14 Rafale jets to the Indian Air Force so far and according to a recent statement by French ambassador in India, all 36 Rafale jets will be delivered to Indian Air Force by the next year.