French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation has rejected media reports about any irregularity in the deal to supply 36 Rafale combat aircraft to India, saying no violations were reported in the deal.
Earlier, French publication Mediapart had said that Dassault had paid 1 million Euros to an Indian middleman after signing of the India-France agreement in 2016. The report said the irregularity was first discovered during an investigation by the country's anti-corruption agency, Agence Francaise Anticorruption (AFA), during its scheduled audit of Dassault.
"Numerous controls are carried out by official organisations, including the French anti-corruption agency. No violations were reported, notably in the frame of the contract with India for the acquisition of 36 Rafales," a Dassault Aviation spokesperson said.
The company, the spokesperson said, acts in strict compliance with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and national laws. "Since the early 2000s, Dassault Aviation has implemented strict internal procedures to prevent corruption, guaranteeing the integrity, ethics and reputation of the company in its industrial and commercial relations."
The company said the government-to-government contract signed with India and the offsets corresponding the contract meet the criteria established by regulations and are being executed in full transparency between the various government and industrial partners.
"Dassault Aviation and the Reliance Group established the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) joint venture in 2017 and built a plant in Nagpur that has been producing numerous Falcon parts and pieces since 2018," the spokesperson said, adding that the company and its partners are working with 60 companies in India, and negotiations are underway to establish potential new cooperations.
India and France had signed the Rs-59,000 crore deal in 2016, under which Dassault Aviation would manufacture 36 Rafale jets for India. India received the first batch of five Rafale aircraft on July 29, 2020.
Following this, the second batch of three Rafale jets landed in India on November 3, 2020, and the third batch of another three jets joined the IAF on January 27, 2021. The delivery of all 36 aircraft is likely to be completed by 2022-end. The fourth batch of three Rafale fighter jets landed in Gujarat's Jamnagar on March 31.
Opposition party Congress, in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections, had raised several questions about the aircraft deal and had alleged corruption in it. However, the government had rejected all the charges.