France: Complaint demanding investigation into Rafale Scam filed with French National Financial Prosecutor
An investigation into deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets signed by Modi government by the French National Prosecutor means more trouble for the beleaguered Indian Prime Minister.
A complaint against India’s deal for Rafale fighter jets has landed on the desk of the French National Financial Prosecutor. The complaint by a French NGO demands an investigation into accusations of corruption in the high-profile Rs 59,000 crore-Rafale scam.
This is bound to further unsettle the Modi government in India, with the Supreme Court already looking into questions of pricing and procedure into how the deal with France’s Dassault was settled and how the offset partner, Anil Ambani’s Reliance was chosen.
Mediapart, a French news site, reported on Friday that a French anti-corruption NGO called Sherpa, has filed a complaint with the office of French National Financial Prosecutor demanding a probe in the Rafale deal which was inked between India and France in 2016. PM Modi had announced the deal in April 2015 even though the process of considering a deal started in the government more than a month later, as confessed by the government in the Supreme Court.
The NGO Sherpa, as per its website, fights “against illicit financial flows; corruption, money laundering, tax evasion”.
The complaint highlights “potential acts of corruption, granting of undue advantages, influence peddling, complicity of these offenses and money laundering” by the French government and Dassault Aviation, which manufactures Rafale fighters.
Sherpa is calling for a probe into the choice of Dassault’s Indian offset partner, Anil Ambani’s Reliance group, which had no “experience in the manufacture of fighter jets” and was only registered “twelve days” before the announcement of the deal, wrote Mediapart.
“Everything indicates that it can be a very serious matter,” said William Bourdon, the founder of Sherpa. According to Mediapart, he called for the “opening of an investigation as soon as possible “.
The French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office was set up in 2013 to combat corruption and serious financial fraud. It has launched investigations into many cases since its launch.