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Tax concession by France to Anil Ambani firm is 'Modi kripa', says Cong in fresh salvo over Rafale

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Firing a fresh salvo at on the issue, the on Saturday alleged that the 143.7 million euro French tax waiver to Anil Ambani's telecom company in 2015, after announced the fighter jet deal, was due to PM Modi's "blessings" as he acted as a "middleman" for the

"This is called zero sum choices, startling tax concession and Modi 'kripa' (blessings)," Congress' told reporters here while referring to a French newspaper report that waived taxes of the Reliance Communications' subsidiary.

The termed as mischievous and inaccurate the attempts to draw a connection between the tax issue and the deal and said they are aimed at disinforming public.

also rejected allegations of wrongdoing and said the tax dispute was settled under legal framework which is available for all companies operating in

Surjewala alleged that the "murky layers of corruption and money trail" in the saga are out.

"PM Modi is acting as middleman for How many other companies in 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.

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

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.

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 deal.

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

Surjewala said, "How does Modiji's friend only get these benefits? That too a company which has virtually no business?"

He also gave a timeline of events to support his claim.

"On March 23, 2015, met French defence officials. Till then the contract to build 128 Rafale was with HAL. On April 10, 2015, PM Modi discards the old Rafale deal and announces a new deal worth Rs 7.8 billion, Surjewala said.

The Congress said after PM Modi announced the new Rafale deal, France cancelled the tax recovery worth 143.7 million euros of a company belonging to Anil Ambani.

"Between 2007-2010, France demands tax from Reliance Flag Atlantic France worth Euro 60 mn. Later between 2010-12, Euro 51mn additional tax was levied on the company.

"On September 21, 2018, states that he was given no choice by PM Modi but to choose Anil Ambani's company (as offset partner), Surjewala said.

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

The said any attempt to draw connection between the tax issue and the Rafale matter is totally inaccurate, tendentious and is a mischievous attempt to disinform.

"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," the ministry said in a statement.

said in a statement that it "denies any favouritism or gain from settlement. Reliance Flag settled disputes as per legal framework in France available to all companies operating in France.

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

First Published: Sat, April 13 2019. 19:20 IST