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Opp gets fresh ammo on Rafale, alleges Anil Ambani got French tax concession due to 'middleman' Modi

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

With a French daily claiming that Anil Ambani's company benefited from a French tax waiver in 2015 when was negotiating the deal, opposition parties on Saturday alleged that was acting as a "middleman" for his "crony businessman" and that layers of corruption were now being unravelled.

The alleged that the tax concession for Ambani was due to 'kripa' (blessings) while the Left parties said the "must own up to this".

The parties, which have been accusing of helping Ambani get an offset contract in the deal, were reacting to a report in a leading French newspaper which claimed that waived taxes worth 143.7 million euros to a French-registered of in 2015, months after India's announcement of buying 36 jets

However, the termed as mischievous and inaccurate any attempt to draw a connection between the tax issue and the Rafale deal.

The here also issued a statement saying tax settlement with Reliance was not subject to any political interference whatsoever and was conducted in full adherence with legislative and regulatory framework.

In its reaction, rejected any wrongdoing and said the tax dispute was settled under legal framework which is available for all companies operating in

The French newspaper said the French tax authorities accepted 7.3 million euros from Reliance Flag Atlantic as a settlement as against original demand of 151 million euros. Reliance Flag owns a and other in France.

"This is called zero sum choices, startling tax concession and Modi 'kripa'," Congress' told reporters here.

He said that the report exposed "layers" of crony capitalism and corruption.

"PM Modi is acting as middleman for How many other companies in France have got a tax benefit? Is this not a quid pro quo for the purchase of It is clear only one watchman is the thief," the said.

"Those that have Modi's blessings can get anything. If Modiji is there, then it is possibile. (Modi ji ki kripa jispar ho jaye uska kuch bhi ho sakta hai, Modi hai to mumkin hai)," he said taunting the BJP with its poll slogan.

CPI(M) alleged that the misused public funds to pay an "exorbitant" price for Rafale fighter jets to benefit "crony businessman" through offset deal and French tax benefit.

"So, our public money is used by Modi govt to pay exorbitantly more for far fewer Rafale fighters than required, to benefit a through the defence deal and French tax benefit. No wonder BJP introduced secret Electoral Bonds for party funding, legalising corruption," he said.

"The whole nexus is now coming out into the open. PMO was directly involved in Rafale scam bypassing our Air Force, and was illegally negotiating in Paris," he tweeted.

Surjewala claimed that in 2017-18, deposited Rs 284 crore in the of an inactive company Reliance Airport Developer's Ltd. "This took place when the government of was making advance payments to Dassault Aviation," he said.

The has been alleging favouritism and corruption in the deal, saying the government was procuring each at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the when it was negotiating.

The government and the BJP have maintained that there has been no wrongdoing in the deal.

Reacting to the newspaper report, the said, "We have seen reports drawing conjectural connection between tax exemption to a private company and procurement of Rafale fighter jets by government of

"Neither the period of the tax concession nor the subject matter of the concession relate even remotely to the Rafale procurement concluded during the tenure of the present government."

Surjewala responded by saying that defence is acting as "official spokesperson" of a corporate.

Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French on April 10, 2015 in The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.

D Raja accused Modi of aiding his "corporate friends" while leaving farmers and students high and dry.

"While this government denies loan waivers to farmers and students who are in deplorable condition and are committing suicide, he is facilitating loan waivers for corporates.

"He stands thoroughly exposed. Even when all this is coming out, he is sending Niramala Sitharaman and other leaders to defend him, but they were not even part of the deal. Why isn't Modi or PMO answering the questions raised by us? Wasn't the PMO conducting parallel negotiations in the matter? The PMO must own up to this," Raja said.

claimed former relinquished his post at the Centre and returned to because he did not agree with the Rafale fighter jet deal.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, April 13 2019. 20:45 IST