An Indian firm on Tuesday said it supplied 50 replicas of Rafale aircraft to its maker Dassault Aviation, a day after a fresh controversy erupted over the fighter jets’ deal following a French media report. French publication ‘Mediapart’, citing an investigation by the country’s anti-corruption agency, reported that Dassault Aviation had paid about one million Euros to Defsys Solutions for 50 models of the aircraft which were to be given as “gifts”.
The media report said the inspectors of the Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA) were given no proof that these models were made. Defsys Solutions on Tuesday released a statement and tax invoices stating that the allegations were totally unfounded.
“This is in response to wholly unsubstantiated, baseless, and misleading claims appearing in certain sections of the media, insinuating that Defsys never supplied 50 replica models of Rafale aircraft,” the company said in a statement. It said 50 replica models of Rafale aircraft were delivered to Dassault Aviation based on a purchase order received from the defense major.
“Delivery challans, E-way bills, and GST returns related to such delivery have been duly filed with the relevant authorities,” the company said. In its report, Mediapart said: “Dassault group was unable to provide the AFA with a single document showing that these models existed and were delivered, and not even a photograph. The inspectors thus suspected that this was a bogus purchase designed to hide hidden financial transactions”.
The NDA government had signed a Rs 59,000-crore deal on September 23, 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace major Dassault Aviation after a nearly seven-year exercise to procure 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for the Indian Air Force did not fructify during the UPA regime.
Prior to the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, Congress raised several questions about the deal, including on rates of the aircraft, and alleged corruption but the government rejected all the charges.