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Tax concession by France to Anil Ambani is 'Modi kripa', says Congress

Congress today alleged that the reported tax waiver by France to a telecom subsidiary of Anil Ambani's company in 2015 months after India announced the fighter jet deal was due to "blessings" of Modi who had acted as a "middleman" for the businessman.

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 13, 2019  | 18:29 IST
Tax concession by France to Anil Ambani is 'Modi kripa', says Congress
"This is called zero sum choices, startling tax concession and Modi 'kripa' (blessings)," Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.

Firing a fresh salvo against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Rafale issue, the Congress today alleged that the reported tax waiver by France to a telecom subsidiary of Anil Ambani's company in 2015 months after India announced the fighter jet deal was due to "blessings" of Modi who had acted as a "middleman" for the businessman.

"This is called zero sum choices, startling tax concession and Modi 'kripa' (blessings)," Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here while referring to a French newspaper report that France waived taxes worth 143.7 million euros of the Reliance Communications' subsidiary.

He claimed the "layers of crony capitalism" involving Modi and Ambani are now being unveiled.

"PM Modi is acting as middleman for Anil Ambani. How many other companies in France have got a tax benefit? Is this not a quid pro quo for the purchase of aircraft? It is clear only one watchman is the thief," Surjewala 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.

In its reaction, Reliance Communications has rejected any wrongdoing and said the tax dispute was settled under legal framework which is available for all companies operating in France.

French newspaper Le Monde 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 terrestrial cable network and other telecom infrastructure in France.

Modi had announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after talks with the then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. The final deal was sealed on September 23, 2016.

The Congress has been alleging irregularities in the deal, saying the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the UPA government when it was negotiating the deal.

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

Surjewala said Saturday that "Anil Ambani was granted a tax waiver of nearly 144 million euros, layers of corruption in the Rafale deal, signed by PM Modi, are now apparent."

"How does Modiji's friend Anil Ambani only get these benefits? That too a company which has virtually no business?" he asked.

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