Days after India’s Supreme Court reserved its judgement on petitions seeking court-monitored prove into the Rafale deal, a top French NGO Sherpa has field a complaint against Dassault Aviation with the country’s Prosecutor’s Office.
In its complaint, Sherpa has highlighted the questions being raised in India on the alleged scam in the Rafale deal. The NGO, which claims to champion the ‘mission to protect and defend victims of economic crimes drawing on the power of the law and to fight against the new forms of impunity linked to globalization,’ has made references to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his friend Anil Ambani.
In its press release, the NGO said, “On October 26, Sherpa, a French NGO, filed a complaint with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office to clarify under which conditions 36 fighter aircraft produced by Dassault Aviation were sold to India in 2016 and the choice of its Indian partner, Reliance, a group led by a close partner of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.”
It added, “This complaint follows the complaint lodged on the 4th of October 2018 by a former Indian Minister (Arun Shourie) and an anti-corruption lawyer (Prashant Bhushan) with the Central Bureau of Investigation in New Delhi, against the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “abuse of authority” and ” grant of undue advantages ” in connection with the sale of Rafale, and the facts revealed by Mediapart and Sherpa’s investigation.”
The complaint also stated how ‘Anil Ambani, Narenda Modi close associate, Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, and the former Indian Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar have also been targeted’ in the complaint filed in New Delhi for ‘complicity.’
Sherpa said that it expected the National Public Prosecutor’s Office to ‘promptly investigate the seriousness of the facts and the presumptions on the reported offences, potential corruption, grant of undue advantages, trading in influence, complicity of these offences, concealment of corruption and laundering of these offences.’
William Bourdon, founder of Sherpa, was quoted as saying, “France cannot do less than India. Cooperation between both countries should be rapidly established, as it is always the case with international grand corruption investigation. Moreover, the hearing of great witnesses is possible and desirable.”
Corruption is deemed as a serious crime in France just like most of the European countries. If the authorities in France detect a potential scam in the Rafale deal and it’s established that Dassault officials bribed the Indian government or its business cronies, this will have serious consequences for the deal.
In October, a French news website Mediapart had sensationally revealed a Dassault document confirming that a trade-off with Anil Ambani was made mandatory to secure the Rafale deal. The website had claimed to have accessed an an internal document, which quoted the deputy chief executive officer of Dassault, Loïk Segalen, as saying during a presentation about their Joint Venture with Reliance on May 2017 to staff, “It is imperative and obligatory for Dassault Aviation to accept this trade-off to obtain the Rafale export contract to India.”
Janta Ka Reporter in its three part series last had first exposed the scam in the purchase of Rafale jets from the French company Dassault aviation. (You can read them here Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3).