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Dassault paid 1 million euro as 'gift' to Indian middleman in Rafale deal: Report

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New Delhi, Apr 05: Dassault, the manufacturer of French fighter jet Rafale, paid one million Euro to a middleman in India just after the signing of the Indo-French contract in 2016, the country's online journal Mediapart reported on Sunday.

The allegations were first uncovered by the French anti-corruption agency Agence Francaise Anticorruption (AFA) during their audit of Dassault. But it decided not to refer the case to prosecutors.

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Dassault reportedly said the money was used to pay for the manufacture of 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 reported.

"As they combed through the 2017 accounts, the AFA inspectors raised an eyebrow when they came across an item of expenditure costing 508,925 euros and entered under the heading 'gifts to clients'," the AFA report said.

Following the report, the Congress has demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement on the reveal.

Chief Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told a press conference here that the French news portal''s report has proved that Rahul Gandhi''s oft-repeated allegations of corruption in the deal were correct.

Surjewala said as per the French portal''s report, an investigation conducted by the 'French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA)'' has revealed that after signing of the deal in 2016, Rafale''s manufacturer Dassault allegedly paid €1.1 million to a middleman -- Defsys Solutions -- which is an Indian company.

"Does it now not require a full and independent investigation into India''s biggest defence deal to find out as to how much bribery and commission in reality, if any, was paid and to whom in the Indian government," he asked at a press conference.

"Will Prime Minister Narendra Modi answer to the nation now?" he asked.

Surjewala said this amount was shown as expenditure by Dassault as "gifts to clients".

While there was no immediate response from the BJP or the government on the charges, they have in the past denied any irregularities in the country''s biggest defence deal.

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