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Indian government chose Anil Ambani for Rafale deal, says Ex-French President Francois Hollande

Hollande on a question about who selected Reliance as a partner and why, said it was the Indian govt that proposed Reliance’s name and Dassault had no choice but to take the company given to it.

Published: 21st September 2018 07:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2018 09:31 PM   |  A+A-

Former France President Francois Hollande. (Photo: File / AP)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Amid the outright denial of any wrongdoing in the Rafale deal by the Narendra Modi government, Former French President Francois Hollande dropped a bombshell by claiming that his government had no say in the selection of the Anil Ambani firm as a service partner.

The Ministry of Defence put out a brief note on Twitter, saying that Hollande's statement is being verified even while neither the Indian nor the French government had any say in the commercial decision.

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The French media quoted Hollande having said on the Rafale controversy that the Indian government had "proposed this service group (Reliance Defence)".

"Dassault negotiated with (Anil) Ambani. We didn't have a choice. We took the interlocutor who was given to us. That's why, on the other hand, this group did not have to give me thanks for anything. I could not even imagine that there was any connection to a film by Julie Gayet," Hollande was quoted by the French media having commented on the ongoing Rafale deal.

ALSO READ: Rafale deal conflict explained: Here's what Congress and BJP said over the past three years

Even while the government maintained a stoic silence over the fresh twist to the raging controversy involving the decision to purchase 26 Rafale fighter jets, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence put out a brief note on its official Twitter handle.

"The report referring to the former French president Mr. Hollande's statement that GOI (Government of India) insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified. It is reiterated that neither GoI nor French government had any say in the commercial decision," the Defence ministry spokesperson stated.

However, the Hollande bombshell provided fresh ammunition to the Opposition to bay for blood against the Modi government. The Congress said the former President of France François Hollande exposed the web of lies spun by the Modi government in the Rafale deal and the centre compelled Dassault to tie up with the Reliance group.-"Cat's out of the Bag!!! Complicity, Collusion and Conspiracy of Modi government in denying the PSU, HAL a Rs 30,000 Cr 'offset contract' to benefit PM's crony friend exposed! The white lie has been exposed. It is clear that the watchman was not only a partner but also an accused,-" Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

The Congress has been attacking the PM, finance minister Arun Jaitley and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the deal and has approached the CAG to examine why the Modi government purchased the jets at three times the UPA price and caused loss to public exchequer worth Rs 41,000 crore.

It has also alleged that the PM helped Reliance get an offset contract worth Rs 30,000 cr from French manufacturer Dassault Aviation thereby overlooking the public sector HAL. Delhi chief minister and Aam Admi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal was quick to charge that the Modi government was compromising the national security.

"By hiding crucial facts on Rafale deal, is Modi govt not endangering national security? Former French President's statement directly contradicts what Modi government had been saying so far. Can the country be taken for a ride any further?" asked Kejriwal. The BJP didn't react on the fresh revelations in the Rafale deal controversy on which the Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had so far been leading the charge against the Opposition Congress.

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