J&K: भारतीय सेना का 'पाक' को मुहतोड़ जवाब, कई ठिकाने ध्वस्त | Editorji Hindi
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Rafale deal: Dassault paid €1 mn to Indian middleman as ‘gift’, claims new report

Apr 05, 2021 16:28 IST | By Editorji News Desk

A French anti-corruption agency allegedly raised red flags over a suspicious payment made by Dassault Aviation to an Indian defence company in 2017-18, according to a new report published by Paris-based investigative news website Mediapart.

The report claims that the Rafale jet maker was unable to adequately provide documentation for this 2017 contract for aircraft models, leading the anti-corruption agency’s inspectors to suspect that it was a “bogus purchase” or one that was designed to conceal a middleman payment.

The Rafale fighter jets deal involved a payment worth one million euros, which is about Rs 8.62 crore, to an Indian middleman, which plane maker Dassault has not been able to explain to the French anti-corruption authorities. An amount of 508,925 euro was allegedly paid under "gifts to clients" head in the 2017 accounts of the Dassault group.

The revelation comes as a 3-part investigation by French online publication Mediapart is underway. Mediapart said that in mid-October 2018, the French anti-corruption agency first spotted the payment during their scheduled audit and asked Rafale manufacturer Dassault for an explanation.

Soon after the Rafale deal was finalised on September 23, 2016, Dassault had agreed to pay the amount to one of its sub-contractors in India, Defsys Solutions.

Dassault said that money was used to pay for the manufacture of 50 large replica models of Rafale jets, claims the Mediapart report. The French company was, however, not able to provide any proof to the anti-corruption regulator to show that the models were actually made.

The French govt's audit on Dassault says, the amount "seemed disproportionate in relation to all the other entries". The French Anti-Corruption Agency, however, did not flag the prosecution authorities over the alleged payment, which, according to Mediapart, "raises questions over both the justice system and the political authorities".

Defsys is one of the subcontractors of Dassault in India which has been linked with controversial businessman Sushen Gupta. Sushen Gupta was earlier arrested and later granted bail for his alleged role in another major defence scam in India, the AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper case.