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Rafale deal: Rahul Gandhi demands probe against PM, calls him 'corrupt man'

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Thursday demanded an investigation against on role in the deal, alleging that he was a "corrupt man" who helped pocket Rs 30,000 crore in the purchase of 36

Gandhi's demand for a probe came a day after a report in French publication that said Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale, had to choose Ambani's firm as its offsets in as a trade-off for getting the deal.

The government has been insisting that it had no role in Dassault's choice of

The also described Nirmala Sitharaman's three-day trip to from Thursday as part of a "huge cover-up" by the government on the deal.

"Why has suddenly the rushed to What is the emergency?" Gandhi asked at a press conference.

"The reality is the is corrupt. The of is a corrupt man," he said.

Modi came to power on the promise of fighting corruption, the said, adding that he wanted to tell the youth of the country that the prime minister was involved in corruption.

On Wednesday, French investigative publication Mediapart, citing an internal document of Aviation, reported that the giant was forced to enter into a joint venture with as part of a trade-off to bag the contract for the 36 jet deal.

Aviation said in a statement that it has "freely chosen to make a partnership with India's Reliance Group".

Last month, Mediapart quoted former French as saying that was given "no choice" on selection of the Indian for Dassault and the proposed the name of the Indian company to with the French giant.

The report triggered a massive political row with Congress escalating its attack on the government and the government firmly rejecting the charges.

Both Dassault and Reliance Defence have already announced setting up of a joint venture to manufacture components and fulfil offset obligations for the Rafale deal.

Under India's offset policy, foreign defence entities are mandated to spend at least 30 per cent of the total contract value in through procurement of components or setting up of research and development facilities.

The Congress has been alleging massive irregularities 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 procurement of 126 Rafale jets.

The opposition parties have alleged Reliance Defence was formed just 12 days before the announcement of the Rafale deal in 2015. has rejected the charges.

The Congress has also been demanding answers from the government on why state-run aerospace HAL was not involved in the deal as finalised during the UPA.

In its reaction following the Mediapart report, said, "In compliance with the Indian regulations (Defence Procurement Procedure) and as frequent with such a contract, has committed to offsets in India worth 50 per cent of the value of the purchase."

"In order to deliver some of these offsets, Dassault Aviation has decided to create a joint-venture. Dassault Aviation has freely chosen to make a partnership with India's Reliance Group," it said.

The French aerospace said partnerships have also been signed with other companies such as BTSL, DEFSYS, Kinetic, Mahindra, and

"Other negotiations are ongoing with a hundred-odd other potential partners," it said.

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

First Published: Thu, October 11 2018. 14:10 IST