Rafale kickback claim: Report says ED, CBI have evidence of 7.5 million Euro bribe paid to Sushen Gupta
Mediapart claims that the bulk of the payments were made between 2007-2012.
The fighter Rafale aircraft deal is once again back under the spotlight after the France-based digital platform, Mediapart published what it alleged were 'false invoices' that showed that aircraft maker Dassault Aviation paid at least 7.5 million euros in bribes to a middleman to help secure the deal to acquire 36 Rafale fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The deal for procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft -- an inter-governmental agreement -- was worth $8.7 billion.
As per the digital platform, despite the existence of these documents, the Indian agencies did not pursue the case. Claiming that its investigation had unearthed offshore companies, dubious contracts and false invoices, Mediapart alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement Directorate have had evidence in their possession since October 2018 of alleged kickbacks worth 7.5 million euros (around Rs 650 million rupees) paid by French aviation firm Dassault to middleman Sushen Gupta.
In July this year, a French judge was assigned to probe the 2016 Rafale deal. Mired in corruption allegations for a long time, Mediapart claims that the bulk of the payments were made between 2007-2012.
The Mediapart report cited a spreadsheet allegedly belonging to Sushen to claim that an entity called 'D' -- a code he reportedly used to designate Dassault -- paid 14.6 million Euros to a shell company named Interdev in Singapore over the period 2004-2013. Mediapart said that Interdev had no real activity.
In April, Mediapart alleged that Sushen was paid a million euros by Dassault for manufacturing 50 large replica models of the Rafale aircraft. India signed a government-to-government pact with France in 2016 to purchase 36 Dassault-made Rafale aircraft. Since then the deal has been mired in one controversy after another, especially from senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who had alleged that the cost of the aircraft was overpriced to benefit one of India's top industrialists.