A fresh controversy over the 2015 Rafale fighter jet deal urgently demands a robust explanation from the government. This time the revelations from a French anti-corruption agency claim that commissions worth 508,925 euros were paid to an Indian middleman in a purportedly government-to-government contract. The payment was listed as a “gift to clients” paid by Rafale manufacturer Dassault to Sushen Gupta of Defsys, who is being investigated for money laundering in the purchase of helicopters from AgustaWestland. This money, according to Dassault, was part-payment for the manufacture of 50 replicas of the aircraft by an Indian company with links to Mr Gupta. Though some of these models are on display, outside the residence of the air chief, for instance, there is no evidence that they were manufactured by Mr Gupta’s company. Mr Gupta has denied these charges, which the French agency sourced from the Indian Enforcement Directorate’s case file on him that claimed he illegally obtained confidential documents from the defence ministry to help the French side get a better bargain.
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First Published: Mon, April 12 2021. 22:19 IST