The Rafale scandal is turning into a major political scandal between India and France as a leading English website revealed that Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment had made a deal to produce a film with the then French President Francois Hollande’s partner and actor Julie Gayet two days before India and France signed the Memorandum of Understanding in 2016 for delivering 36 Rafale aircraft.
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On January 24, 2016, Reliance Entertainment announced that it had entered into an agreement with Gayet’s firm, Rouge International, to jointly produce a French film and on January 26,the then French President Francois Hollande came to New Delhi as the Republic Day chief guest and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for delivering 36 Rafale aircrafts.
The MoU was signed between the then French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26 January 2016. Just two days before that Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment announced an agreement with Gayet’s firm, Rogue International, to jointly produce a French film.
“Later that year Ambani’s Reliance Defence became part of the offset programme of Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal through Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL), in which it holds a 51% stake,” said the IE report.
As part of the offset clause in the Rafale deal, France is supposed to invest 50 per cent of the deal money back in India through local contracts. There are concerns about Reliance Defence’s lack of prior experience in defence manufacturing.The film – Tout La-Haut, directed by French actor and film-maker Serge Hazanavicius, was released in France on 20 December 2017.
The first announcement of Dassault and Reliance creating a JV in India as a “key player” for execution of offset obligations was made in October 2016, again during Hollande’s Presidency.