BJP dismisses new Rafale report as ‘completely baseless’, blames ‘corporate rivalry’

Says same Sushen Gupta named who has ‘links’ with Congress as established by AgustaWestland case

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5

Responding to allegations that French combat jet company Dassault paid 1 million euro to an Indian middleman after signing of the India-France agreement in 2016, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in turn, targeted the rival Congress for flagging the allegations of a French anti-corruption agency.

Dismissing the new Rafale report as “corporate rivalry” and “completely baseless”, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the Congress of weakening the morale of Armed Forces, reminding it that the same “Sushen Gupta” named in the report had “links” with the Congress as established by AgustaWestland case.

Read also: Congress seeks probe into Rafale deal after French media claim bribes were paid

“The Congress is again speaking of Rafale, after the Supreme Court order and what happened to their campaign in the 2019 general elections?

“I am told that Rahul Gandhi does not do homework it seems that party spokesperson also do not do their homework,” Prasad said pointing that the person named in the report was the same who was also named in the AgustaWestland case in which members of “the family and senior Congress leaders were named”.  

“They have spoken about some Sushen Gupta who was also involved in the AgustaWestland deal about whom Congress leader Salman Khurshid publicly said they knew his family,” he said.

Dismissing the report as a “corporate rivalry”, he called it completely baseless. He also accused Congress for “weakening the morale of the Armed Forced”. “If we had the Rafale during the Balakot we could have made the strike from our side. They asked for proof for Uri, Balakot. The country has increasingly refusing to take Rahul Gandhi seriously for the kind of utterances he makes with alarming regularity,” the BJP leader said.

According to reports, a French anti-corruption agency allegedly raised red flags over a suspicious payment made by Dassault Aviation to an Indian defence company in 2017-18. The report published by Paris-based investigative news website places a fresh spotlight over the controversial 2016 Rafale deal.

It claims that the Rafale jet maker was unable to adequately provide documentation for this 2017 contract for aircraft models, leading the anti-corruption agency’s inspectors to suspect that it was a “bogus purchase” or one that was designed to conceal a middleman payment.

Indian defence company’s owners are closely connected to alleged defence agent Sushen Gupta, who is under investigation by the CBI in the AgustaWestland case, the report claims.

 

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