Billionaire Anil Ambani wrote to Congress president Rahul Gandhi eight months ago refuting allegations of his Reliance Group lacking experience to get the Rafale fighter jet deal, and asserting that the government had no role in French Group Dassault picking up his company as a local partner.
The revelation has come amid continuous attack on the government by the Congress. The two-page letter dated December 12, 2017, explained why Ambani’s Reliance Group bagged the multi-billion dollar project.
According to a PTI report, Ambani, in the letter, invoked his family’s “respectful relationship” with the Gandhi family over generations and said he was “personally saddened” by the “unfortunate statements” against him and his group by several functionaries of the Congress party.
Talking about the deal, he wrote, “Not only do we have the necessary experience but we are also the leaders in several important areas of defense manufacture.”
“The decision of the Government of India to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was made through an inter-governmental agreement signed between the two countries.
“Also, all these 36 aircraft are being manufactured in France and will be delivered on a ‘fly away’ basis from Dassault manufacturing facilities in France to the Indian Air Force and no Indian company has any role to play,” he said.
He said Reliance Defence has the largest shipyard in the private sector at Pipavav in Gujarat and is currently building five Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) for the Indian Navy and 14 Fast Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard.
Dassault chose Reliance Group as its joint venture partner to meet the ‘offset’ or export obligation component of the deal and this was “an independent agreement between two corporate private sector entities, and Governments had no role to play in this matter,” he wrote.
Gandhi has been attacking the government on the deal which he claims was inked at a much higher price than the one the previous UPA regime had negotiated. Last week during the debate on the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, he accused the government of changing the deal to benefit “one businessman”.
(With PTI inputs)