Complaint lodged with National Financial Prosecutor’s office
Pressure continues to mount over allegations of corruption in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France from both within and outside the country.
According to French news portal Mediapart, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) has approached the National Financial Prosecutor’s office, seeking a probe into the allegations of money laundering and corruption in the deal and the choice of Anil Ambani as the offset partner.
Sherpa, an anti-corruption NGO, lodged the complaint at the end of October with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office highlighting “potential acts of corruption, granting of undue advantages, influence peddling, complicity of these offenses and money laundering,” according to a report on Friday by Mediapart.
India-specific Rafale add-ons after delivery of all 36 fighters
The complaint sought an investigation into the circumstances under which 36 combat aircraft were sold by France to India in 2016 and the choice of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the offset partner which had no “experience in the manufacture of fighter jets” and was registered only “twelve days” before the announcement of the deal in 2015, the news report stated.
“Everything indicates that it is likely to be a very serious matter,” William Bourdon, founder of Sherpa told Mediapart.
The complaint mentioned that Sherpa have been following the allegations by a former minister and an anti-corruption lawyer to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Controversy surrounding the Rafale deal has steadily grown over last few months . The Supreme Court has heard arguments in the case and reserved its verdict on whether it merits a court-monitored investigation.
In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 billion Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition.