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30 May 2024, Edition - 3243, Thursday

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Rafale deal: Reliance Group hits back at Rahul Gandhi’s allegations of kickbacks from Dassault



Reliance Group has trashed allegations of receiving kickbacks levelled against it by Congress president Rahul Gandhi as blatant lies. In a statement on Friday, the Anil Ambani-led conglomerate argued that its owner is being dragged into a political battle ahead of upcoming States and General elections.

“The Congress Party has today once again resorted to blatant lies and distorted facts to mount an unwarranted campaign of calumny and falsehoods against the Reliance Group and its Chairman Mr Anil Ambani personally,” a Reliance Infrastructure spokesperson said.

In a press meet earlier today, Rahul Gandhi had targeted Anil Ambani with allegations of receiving kickbacks in the deal over purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. Gandhi blamed that the piece of land, which was decisive in giving the contract to Reliance Defence, was bought from the money Dassault gave to Reliance Group.

In response to this, Reliance said that Dassault’s investment in Reliance Airport Developers Limited (RADL) had no link whatsoever to the contract for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets between the Government of India and France. RADL is a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure and operates five regional airports in Maharashtra, at Nanded, Latur, Baramati, Yavatmal and Osmanabad.

In its statement, Reliance said that application for land at Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport, Nagpur was filed in August 2015. Payments were made for this plot between August 2015 and July 2017, which was then used for Dassault-Reliance Aerosapce (DRAL). On the other hand, investment by Dassault Aviation in RADL, to acquire 34.8% equity stake for Rs. 309 crore, was made by way of FDI in September 2017.

“The Congress party has falsely alleged that the funds invested in RADL have been used for the purchase of land at MIHAN, Nagpur for the Dassault-Reliance 49:51 joint venture. The payment for the land at MIHAN, Nagpur, Maharashtra was made from 2015 to 2017, much before the investment by Dassault in RADL,” the spokesperson said.

“To allege that Dassault investment in Reliance Airport Developers Limited (RADL) was used to pay for this land is factually incorrect and preposterous. We repeat it is a blatant lie to state that land at MIHAN was bought from funds provided by Dassault,” Reliance Infrastructure said.

Refuting Congress’ allegations that funds from Dassault Aviation have gone into Anil Ambani’s pockets, Reliance said, “The Dassault investment in DRAL and RADL are two independent and stand alone business investments and in both cases, funds have been received by the companies and not a single rupee by Mr Anil Ambani in his personal capacity.”

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