In an explosive revelation, a French newspaper has reported authorities in France had waived off taxes worth 143.7 million euros for Anil Ambani’s France-based company barely few months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his plans to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation.
The French newspaper Le Monde’s headline said that ‘Anil Ambani, a close friend of Prime Minister Modi, ‘benefited’ from a tax waiver amounting to more than 140 million euros in 2015, when Dassault negotiated the sale of Rafale jets to India under Modi.
The report said, “Anil Ambani is at the same time one of the main beneficiaries of this sale of thirty-six French combat aircrafts of Dassault Aviation to India, and very close to the prime minister, Narendra Modi. Not a day goes by without the opposition in India accusing Mr. Modi of taking advantage of this contract of 7.9 billion euros, negotiated in 2015, favoring his friend Ambani.”
The latest revelation has emerged after the anti-corruption NGO, Sherpa, filed a complaint, in October last year with the National Financial Office requesting the opening of an investigation into suspected corruption charges surrounding the Rafale deal. In its complaint, Sherpa had 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,’ had made references to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his friend Anil Ambani.
According to the Le Monde report, France cancelled the tax recovery of a total amount of 143.7 million euros, owed by Anil Ambani’s French company Reliance Flag Atlantic France. The development coincided with Modi’s announcement to buy 36 Rafale jets from France in 2015.
No sooner did the Le Monde reporter in India share his paper’s story on Twitter, Congress leader Randeep S Surjewala announced that his party will address an important news conference later today. He wrote, “Is the ‘Corruption’ & ‘Money trail’ in the
#RafaleScam finally out? Is PM Modi-Anil Ambani connection finally out? Sensational & Explosive! Pl wait for a Spl. AICC PC at 1.30 PM today.”
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 is established that Dassault officials bribed the Indian government or its business cronies, this will have serious consequences on 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 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.”