CPI(M) demands enquiry into Rafale fighter jet deal

New Delhi: The CPI(M) has demanded an enquiry into the Rafale fighter jet deal after a French media report claimed that Euro 1.1 million was paid to a “middleman” by the aircraft manufacturer.

The BJP has already denied the allegation in the French media report as baseless.

“The current revelation in a French media portal that one million euros were paid to a ‘middleman’ in the deal to buy 36 Rafale jets has once again raised the issue of kickbacks and other illegal payments in the Rafale deal. The report is based on an analysis of the Dassault company’s accounts of 2017,” CPI(M) politburo said in a statement.

“The dogged refusal by the (Narendra) Modi government to order a probe into the Rafale deal raises suspicion that it has something to hide in the matter. The CAG audit report could not obviously look into the issue of illegal payments,” it said.

It demanded a high-level investigation into the cancellation of an earlier order and the issuance of a fresh order for 36 fighter jets.

According to Mediapart, its report was based on an investigation by the country’s anti-corruption agency Agence Francaise Anticorruption (AFA), which found that after inking the deal, payment was made by Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale fighter jets. According to the report, the manufacturer has not been able to answer the queries posed by the AFA.