Mediapart, the French online journal, has been investigating the sale of 36 Rafale jets to India.
An Indian middleman was paid millions of euros by Dassault Aviation, which manufactures Rafale jets, and its electronic partner Thales, claims a French online journal, in the third and final part of its explosive investigation into the sale of 36 Rafale jets to India.
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Mediapart says it has unpublished documents that showed Dassault and Thales paid “middleman” Sushen Gupta in “secret commissions” to influence the Rs 59,000-crore deal. The journal claims that Gupta, an influential middleman, was paid through offshore accounts and shell companies using inflated invoices.
Multiple Indian news platforms have carried the story attributing it to the French journal. The Mediapart report says those involved in the signing of the deal succeeded in getting the anti-corruption clauses removed from the contract.
The journal says, according to the details on an account spreadsheet belonging to Gupta, €14.6 million were paid by an entity 'D' to a Singapore-based company, Inteerdev, over the period 2004-2013. Gupta uses 'D' as a code letter for Dassault and Interdev was a shell company with no real activity.
The report in Mediapart, citing the Enforcement Directorate documents, says Gupta, acting as a Dassault and Thales middleman, obtained confidential information from the Indian defence ministry even as the negotiations were underway. It further said that Gupta had gained sensitive data which should have only been with the Ministry of Defence.
This data allegedly assisted Dassault massively in its negotiations with the Indian government in the deal worth Rs 59,000 crore.
On Thursday, Dassault issued a statement saying there were no violations in the framework of the contract signed by the company with India. It said that several controls are carried out by official organisations, which also included the French anti-corruption agency, and they had found nothing suspicious.
Gupta's name also features in the AugustaWestland charge sheet filed in connection with corruption charges in the acquisition of choppers from the Italian-British firm. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in 2019.
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