Rafale contract received from Dassault, not Defence Ministry:Reliance

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New Delhi: Caught in a political storm over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group on Sunday denied receiving any contract from the Defence Ministry and said “unfounded and incorrect” allegations are being deliberately made to “mislead people and cloud the issue.Answering questions ranging from lack of experience to state-owned HAL being overlooked for the deal, the group said Dassault, the French firm that is to supply 36 Rafale fighter jets, chose Reliance Defence Ltd to meet its ‘offset’ or export obligation in the contract and the Ministry of Defence has no role in the selection of Indian partners by the foreign vendors.

Reliance Defence Ltd CEO Rajesh Dhingra said the government-to-government deal requires all 36 aircraft to be delivered in a ‘fly-away’ condition which means “they are to be exported from France by Dassault” and “HAL or anyone else cannot be the production agency for the simple reason that no aircraft are to be produced in India.”He said HAL was a nominated production agency for the 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, which never reached the contract stage. Reliance Defence Ltd CEO Rajesh Dhingra said the government-to-government deal requires all 36 aircraft to be delivered in a ‘fly-away’ condition which means “they are to be exported from France by Dassault” and “HAL or anyone else cannot be the production agency for the simple reason that no aircraft are to be produced in India.

He said HAL was a nominated production agency for the 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, which never reached the contract stage.“Reliance Defence or any other Reliance group company has not received any contract from the MoD till date, related to 36 Rafale aircraft. This is absolutely unfounded and incorrect,” he told PTI. Opposition Congress party last week demanded a JPC in the deal and its president Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the government for inking the deal at a much higher price than the one the previous UPA regime had negotiated.

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