New Delhi, Sep 21: Former French President François Hollande said that the Indian government had proposed Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence as a service provider for the Rafale deal.
In an article published by French journal Mediapart, Responding to question about who selected Reliance as a partner and why, Hollande stated it was the Indian government that proposed Reliance’s name and Dassault had no choice but to choose the company given to it.
“We did not have a say in that. The Indian government proposed this service group, and Dassault negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor we were given,” said Hollande.
The article was published in French language and French Newspaper LeMonde journalist Julien Boissou tweeted the excerpts of Hollande’s interview.
His remark comes amid political slugfest between the Narendra Modi government and the Congress over Rafale purchase.
The Congress party has been alleging irregularities in the deal saying that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had finalised the price of each aircraft at Rs. 590 crore in 2012.
Reacting to the Ex-French President statement, Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari retweeted this article and asked Hollande: “President (Former) Francois Hollande should also enlighten us how the price went up from 590 crores in 2012 to 1690 crores in 2015 per Rafale fighter jet? Escalation of a mere 1100 crores. I am sure the Euro equivalent would not be a problem to calculate.”
On Wednesday, a high-level Congress delegation met Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi with its demand for a probe into the Modi government ’s deal with France to purchase the fighter jets
The delegation also submitted an eight-page memorandum to the CAG giving the history of the proposal to acquire fighter jets, the process for which began in 2007 during the UPA government.
In the recent past, the opposition party also held a series of press conferences on the issue, raising several questions on the deal made by the ruling party with France to acquire the fighter jets.