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Congress targets Modi over French newspaper report on Rafael

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New Delhi, April 13: The Congress on Saturday targetted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafael deal.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi

Earlier, media persons were tipped that the party would come up with fresh proof over Rafael but when Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala started addressing press conference then it was revealed that his proofs were based on French newspaper Le Monde report. 

The report says that Anil Ambani's French-registered telecom company was given tax waivers worth €143.7 million by local authorities, shortly after the Rafael deal was inked. 

Addressing a press conference here, Surjewala said, "French newspaper Le Monde has reported a sensational news today how Anil Ambani 's French company was given tax waiver after the Rafael deal was signed. With this, murky layers of corruption and money trail in the Rafale Scam Saga are out. " 

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He said Anil Ambani's telecom company Reliance Atlantic Flag France was asked to pay €60mn between 2007-2010, Later between 2010-12, €51mn additional tax was levied on the company, but after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets then the French government suddenly turned benevolent and canceled a tax recovery of 143.7 million euros of Reliance Atlantic Flag France and settled for 7.6 Million Euros. 

"PM Modi is acting as middle man for Anil Ambani. How many other companies in France have got a tax benefit? Is this not a quid pro quo for the purchase of aircraft? It is clear ek hi chowkidar chor hai (Only one watchman is the thief)," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. 

However, Reliance Communications, which owns the Reliance FLAG Atlantic France SAS, denied "any favouritism or gain from settlement". 

According to the statement, Reliance FLAG Atlantic France SAS is a subsidiary of Reliance Communications, India and owns a terrestrial cable network and other telecom infrastructure in France. The tax demands were completely "unsustainable and illegal" the statement said, and claimed that tax disputes were settled "as per legal framework in France available to all companies operating in France." 

Alleging money trail in the Rafale deal, Surjewala said, "In 2017-18, Dassault Aviation invested money in Anil Ambani 's Reliance Airport Developers Limited (RADL) thereby making it richer by Rs 284 Crore, although total turnover of the company is a mere Rs 5 lakh and it has actual losses. " 

Anil Ambani's Reliance Group is the "key partner" for Dassault Aviation for the discharge of offsets. The total value of offsets from the deal is estimated to be around Rs 30,000 crore.

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