Dassault aviation CEO Eric Trappier has confirmed paying money to Anil Ambani’s Reliance but denied that the money had gone to the Indian billionaire businessman’s company. Speaking to news agency ANI, Trappier said that the money given by Dassault had gone to the joint venture.
He also sensationally implied that the Anil Ambani’s company did not need to have experience in aircraft manufacturing since Dassault engineers were teach the Indian company how to make fighter jets.
He was quoted as saying, “We are not putting the money in Reliance. The money is going into the JV. I put my know-how free of charge on how to produce people. I have engineers and workers from Dassault who are taking the lead as far as the industrial part of this deal is concerned. At the same time, I have an Indian company like Reliance who is putting money into this JV as they want to develop their country. So the company is going to know how to produce aircraft.”
Trappier’s statement implies that the Indian offset partner did not need to have prior experience in building the fighter jets. However, as exposed by Janta Ka Reporter last month, clause 4.1 under appendix D to Chapter II of Defence Procurement Policy 2016 clearly stated, “Indian enterprises and institutions and establishments engaged in the manufacture of eligible products and/or provision of eligible services, including DRDO, are referred to as the Indian Offset partner (IOP).”
Therefore, the selection of Reliance as the Indian offset partner was in clear violation of the policy as at the time of Dassault choosing Reliance Aerostructure Limited (RAL), RAL was not engaged in the “manufacture of eligible products and/or provision of eligible services” and was existed only on papers.
Trappier also denied allegations that his company had paid a kickback of Rs 284 crore to Reliance as part of the Rafale deal. He said, “I don’t lie. The truth I declared before and the statements I made are true. I don’t have a reputation of lying. In my position as CEO, you don’t lie.”
Speaking to reporters earlier this month, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had alleged that Dassault Rs 284 crore as kickbacks to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence. He had said, “Dassault CEO said that the reason why his company preferred Anil Ambani over HAL was because Anil Ambani had land. Now it turns out the land Mr Anil Ambani had was purchased from the money it received from Dassault. Dassault company put in Rs 284 crore into Anil Ambani’s company. Ambani uses the same money to purchase land. It’s clear that Dassault CEO is lying. The question also arises as to why Dassault invested Rs 284 crore into a loss-making company (owned by Ambani), whose value was just Rs 8.30 lakh?”