The Congress party on September 23 released a video which, it says, shows Dassault Aviation Chairman Eric Trappier speaking on March 25, 2015—just 17 days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a new Rafale deal excluding HAL in Paris, France in presence of former French President Francois Hollande—in the presence of Indian Air Force and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited officers, about responsibility sharing on the Rafale contract.
Trappier can be heard saying in the video, “After an outstanding amount of work and some discussion, you can imagine my great satisfaction to hear on one hand from the Indian Air Force chief of staff that he wants a combat proven aircraft which could be the Rafale... and on the other hand from HAL chairman that we are in agreement for the responsibilities sharing, considering as well our conformity with the RFP (Request for Proposal) in order to be in line with the rules of this competition. I strongly believe that contract finalisation and signature would come very soon.”
The video can be viewed below:
Just 17 days later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after holding talks with then French President Francois Hollande on April 10, 2015 in Paris. HAL was out, and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Limited—incorporated just 12 days before PM Modi announced the deal—was in as Dassault Aviation’s Indian offset partner for the Rafale contract.
“Fifteen days before Modi overturned the 126 plane UPA deal, [Trappier] says that deal is almost done; Dassault is happy to work with HAL. Yet 15 days later, Modi scraps it, kicks out HAL and signs new deal of 36 at 3x cost and Ambani!”, tweeted senior lawyer and Swaraj India leader Prashant Bhushan, reacting to the video.