Report: French Firm Dassault Aviation Bribed Its Way to €7.8Bln Rafale Fighter Jet Contract in India
12:51 GMT 08.11.2021 (Updated: 10:40 GMT 19.07.2022)
Since 2019, India’s opposition parties have been trying to get parliament to investigate the controversial €7.8 billion ($8.7 billion) Rafale fighter jet deal between the Indian government and Dassault Aviation. The government claims no wrong was committed in making the agreement, even after several media reports indicating the contrary.
French online portal Mediapart made a report on Monday, citing documents it had obtained, that Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the Rafale fighter, paid more than €7.5 million to an intermediary in an attempt to win a multi-billion Indian fighter jet contract.
The investigative website said that the kickbacks had been paid to the influential defence middleman Sushen Gupta between 2007 and 2012.
Mediapart has also made serious allegations against India’s Central Bureau of Investigation - which is subject to inquiry in a separate defence deal - saying the agency did not take action despite having “proof” against Gupta, .
“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 Dassault paid at least €7.5 million in secret commissions to middleman Sushen Gupta,” said the report.
In November 2019, the Supreme Court of India declined to order a criminal investigation into the deal despite an official complaint by lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, and former BJP ministers, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie.
In September 2016, India signed a deal with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a deal worth more than €7.8 billion.
The original contract signed in 2014 was for 126 jets; however, the Narendra Modi government revised the deal to reduce the number of jets to 36 fully loaded aircraft.
The government also changed Rafale’s Indian manufacturing partner from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to a private entity.
The opposition Congress party has alleged that the Modi government bought the jets at an inflated price.