French news website Mediapart reported that at least 7.5 million euros were paid in 'secret commission' to middleman Sushen Gupta during the negotiations of the deal to secure the sale of Rafale jets during the 2007-2012 period.
A French news website report has exposed how kickbacks were paid in UPA time to secure the Rafale deal.
Mediapart, a French news website, has alleged that aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation paid at least 7.5 million euros in 'secret commission' to middleman Sushen Gupta during the negotiations to secure the sale of Rafale jets during the 2007-2012 period.
The Congress-led UPA was in power at the centre from 2004-14. Sonia Gandhi, current acting president of the Congress party, was the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Malviya posted on social media platform Twitter, "Dassault paid €14.6 Mn to intermediary Sushen Gupta over the period 2004-2013 to sell Rafale. So UPA was collecting kickbacks but couldn't close the deal? NDA later scrapped it and got into a contract with the French Govt, which upset Rahul Gandhi no end."
According to the Mediapart report, Dassault Aviation had allegedly paid Sushen Gupta's Mauritius-based company Interstellar technologies during the 2007 to 2012 period when the deal was being negotiated. The company received at least 7.5 million Euros from Dassault Aviation. Gupta's same Mauritius-based company 'Interstellar Technologies' was also used for kickbacks in the AugustaWestland Chopper Scam and is now under the ED and CBI scanner.
"It involves offshore companies, dubious contracts and "false" invoices. Mediapart can reveal that detectives from the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), and colleagues from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have had proof since October 2018 that French aviation firm Dassault paid at least 7.5 million euros (equivalent to just under 650 million rupees) in secret commissions to middleman Sushen Gupta," the report noted.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had started the negotiation to buy 126 Rafale aircraft, 108 of which were to be made in India by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). But the UPA could not seal the deal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government sealed the deal for 36 Rafale jets for INR 59,000 crore.
A PIL was filed in the Supreme Court against the deal by the Modi government. In November 2019, the Supreme Court dismissed the PIL, saying it saw nothing wrong in the deal by the Modi government. Earlier in February 2019, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had also dismissed allegations of any wrongdoing in the Rafale deal by the Narendra Modi government.
Three Rafale jets arrived in Gujarat's Jamnagar on October 13 this year. With their arrival, France has delivered 29 of the 36 Rafale jets ordered by the Modi government. French Ambassador in India Emmanuel Lenain had said in October this year that France would complete the delivery of all the 36 Rafales ahead of schedule.