'No violations in Rafale deal with India', says Dassault Aviation
French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, said on Thursday that the deal to supply 36 fighter jets went through numerous checks and no violations were reported. The company also said that it has implemented strict internal procedures to prevent corruption.
"Numerous controls are carried out by official organizations, 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," Dassault aviation spokesperson said in a statement.
The statement, said the spokesperson, is in connection with certain allegations reported in the press about the contract signed in 2016 with India.
"Since the early 2000s, Dassault Aviation has implemented strict internal procedures to prevent corruption, guaranteeing the integrity, ethics and reputation of the company in its industrial and commercial relations. 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," the statement further said.
"The contract with India for the acquisition of 36 Rafales has been established on a government-to-government basis. This 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 company said in the statement.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government signed a ₹59,000-crore deal on September 23, 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation, replacing a nearly seven-year exercise by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
The Congress raised several questions about the deal, including on rates of the aircraft which he said were inflated, and alleged corruption but the government rejected all the charges. The Supreme Court and government's top auditor, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), also did not find any corruption.
But the controversy was reignited over the last week after a French online journal, Mediapart, claimed that Dassault Aviation, which manufactures the Rafale jet, paid €1 million to a Sushen Gupta, described as a “middleman”, in connection with the deal for 36 jets.
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The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, 2020, nearly four years after India signed the agreement with France. The formal induction ceremony of the fleet took place at Ambala on September 10 last year.
A second batch of three Rafale jets arrived in India on November 3, while a third batch of another three jets joined the Indian Air Force (IAF) on January 27.
Another group of the French-made fighter jets landed in India on April 1 this year and six more are coming on April 28. The IAF will get four more Rafales in May.
The first Rafale squadron is based in Ambala air force station. The IAF is set to raise the second squadron of the Rafale combat jets which will be based in Hasimara in West Bengal.