New Delhi:The French government Friday said it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the Rafale fighter jet deal, asserting that French companies have the full freedom to select Indian firms for the contract.
"The Indian government proposed this partner and Dassault negotiated with Ambani", Hollande said, according to the report posted on September 21 that referred to the Ambani family, who are dominant in the Indian business world. He pointed out that Hollannde who is not in office any longer was under no serious political compulsion to make the remarks. Well, during the deal between French and India were on, Hollande and Ambani's got into a new deal. "More broadly, the possibility of New Delhi doing a favor for a pro-government corporate titan in the high-stakes, big-money world of arms sales - the optics are awful, and the reputational costs for the government could be considerable".
Taking a dig at Anil Ambani, Owaisi said, "The ex-president of France says that the absurd contract was given on the condition of the Prime Minister of India that they will finalise this deal only if you give this absurd contract to "X" person". Modi Ji you dishonoured the blood of our martyred soldiers. "Shame on you. You betrayed India's soul".
His comments on Friday stoked debate over a subject which has gained significant traction in India in recent weeks, since the opposition Congress party accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of favouring a private conglomerate over a public company in the aircraft deal. Now Pakistan also supports Rahul Gandhi's baseless allegations against PM Modi.
The process to acquire 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMCRA) began in 2007 in an attempt to replace the aging MiG aircrafts of the IAF.
He said the Rafale aircraft was negotiated for Rs 526 crore by the UPA government but purchased for Rs 1600 crore by the Modi government. This dragged on till the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that brought the BJP-led NDA government to power.
The French foreign ministry later issued a statement saying that "the sole obligations of the French government were to assure delivery and the quality of the equipment". The Congress has been questioning the price and the choice of the offset partner. It brings under strain the Narendra Modi government's attempts to distance itself from the selection of a company belonging to Anil Ambani's Reliance group as an offset partner by Dassault, maker of the fighter planes.
Hollande further went on to deny any conflict of interest with Reliance and added that Reliance did not have to thank him for anything.
However, French sources say that Hollande, who Emmanuel Macron succeeded as president in May 2017, was motivated to speak out after an Indian media report revealed that the Reliance Group had part-funded a film venture by his domestic partner, French actress Julie Gayet.