Thursday, February 29, 2024

6.7 million Euro paid to a middleman during UPA rule on Rafale: Report

The investigation into the Rafale jets deal by French news portal Mediapart has revealed that businessman Sushen Gupta and his intermediaries received “at least €7.5 million in kickbacks” from Dassault and its affiliates and most of these transactions were done between 2004 to 2013, during the Congress-led UPA government. 

“It involves offshore companies, dubious contracts and ‘false’ invoices. Mediapart can reveal that detectives from India’s federal police force, the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), and colleagues from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which fights money laundering, have had proof since October 2018 that Dassault paid at least €7.5 million in secret commissions to middleman Sushen Gupta,” Mediapart said in a report.

“According to an accounts spreadsheet belonging to Sushen Gupta, an entity called simply ‘D’, which is a code he regularly used to designate Dassault, paid €14.6 million to Interdev in Singapore over the period 2004-2013,” it added. 

It said Interdev was a shell company with no real activity and administered by a straw man for the Gupta family.

The report said according to another accounts spreadsheet belonging to Gupta, which only covers the years 2004 to 2008,  Dassault industrial partner and defense electronics firm, Thales, paid €2.4 million to another shell company.

Sushen Gupta was also earlier arrested in 2019 for his alleged role in another major defense scam in India, the AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper deal which was also signed by the Congress government. 

Later, when they came under the radar, thousands of crores of rupees were paid to Gupta through inflated bills for software consulting between 2008 to 2013. 

In another report in April, Mediapart claimed that Dassault paid €1 million to Gupta for manufacturing 50 large replica models of Rafale jets. 

“The company said the money was used to pay for the manufacture of 50 large replica models of Rafale jets, even though the inspectors were given no proof that these models were made,” Mediapart had reported citing the confidential audit report by French Anti-Corruption Agency, Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA). 

It must be noted that while the Congress-led UPA government involved middleman in the Rafale deal, the deal signed by Narendre Modi-led government for the acquisition of 36 Rafales has been established on a government-to-government basis, without involvement of any middlemen. 

The Congress party tried to take on the Modi government on the Rafale deal but the equations have now turned the exact opposite because the Congress-led UPA government is now under question for 14.6 million Euros of kickbacks paid for the deal.

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