Causing another set of embarrassment to the Union government, a French portal Mediapart has claimed that it has fresh evidence of kickbacks paid by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation to help secure the sale of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts to India.
The french portal claims that the CBI and ED have evidence of bribes being paid since October 2018 but did not pursue the matter. The media portal has also alleged that false invoices were used to enable Dassault Aviation to pay at least 7.5 million euros (around Rs 65 crore) in secret commissions to middleman Sushen Gupta. Gupta was earlier arrested for alleged bribes in the AgustaWestland deal.
“It involves offshore companies, dubious contracts and ‘false’ invoices. Mediapart can reveal that detectives from India’s federal police force, the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), and colleagues from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which fights money laundering, have had proof since October 2018 that French aviation firm Dassault paid at least 7.5 million euros (equivalent to just under 650 million rupees) in secret commissions to middleman Sushen Gupta. This was in the context of the French firm’s long and ultimately successful attempt to secure a 7.8 billion-euro-deal in 2016 to sell 36 of its Rafale fighters to India,” the report said.
Mediapart had earlier in April published a report to reveal how an influential Indian business intermediary was secretly paid millions of euros by Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation and French defence electronics firm Thales.
They succeeded in removing anti-corruption clauses from the fighter contract which was subsequently signed by then French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the report claimed.