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Anil Ambani writes to Rahul Gandhi on Rafale deal, says Congress misinformed

Anil Ambani in the letter expressed “deep anguish over continued personal attacks by Rahul Gandhi on him”, a Reliance Group statement said.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2018 23:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Anil Ambani,Rafale deal,Rahul Gandhi
Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani at a news conference in Mumbai.(REUTERS)

Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani has written to Congress president Rahul Gandhi blaming “corporate rivals and vested interests” for misinforming, misdirecting and misleading the Opposition party over the Rafale deal. The group said this in a statement on Monday.

Ambani’s letter comes as the Congress decided to aggressively attack the government over alleged impropriety and corruption in the $8.7 billion Rafale deal with France for 36 fighter jets. A Congress response to the letter was not immediately available.

Ambani called the Congress’s allegations over the deal “baseless and unfortunate,” while expressing “deep anguish” in his letter last week over Gandhi’s personal attacks against him.

“There is no contract from the MoD (ministry of defence) to any Reliance Group company related to the 36 Rafale aircraft… Not a single component worth a single rupee is to be manufactured by Reliance for these 36 jets. The allegations relating to ‘lack of experience’ are, thus, irrelevant,” Ambani wrote.

India had floated a tender for 126 planes over a decade ago. But it was cancelled after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in April 2015 that India would buy 36 Rafale jets from France under a government-to-government deal. The deal was signed in September 2016 as an emergency purchase to meet the Indian Air Force’s needs. Ambani wrote all the warplanes would be “100% manufactured” in France. He added they were not being built either by Reliance or the Dassault Aviation-Reliance joint venture. Ambani said Reliance’s role was limited only to offsets and export obligations. French Dassault Aviation manufactures the Rafales.

“More than 100 medium, small and micro enterprises will participate in this, along with public sector undertakings like Bharat Electronics Limited and Defence Research and Development Organisation,” he wrote. “This role strengthens Indian manufacturing capabilities, and is in pursuance of the offsets policy introduced by the Congress-led UPA Government itself from 2005 onwards,” he added.

Ambani wrote the Reliance Group announced its decision to get into the defence manufacturing sector in December 2014-January 2015, months before India announced it would buy Rafale jets.

The letter dismissed as “irrelevant and completely false” the allegation that Reliance Defence was set up barely 10 days before the April 2015 announcement.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 20:51 IST