New development in Rafale case, judge appointed to probe deal

4th July,2021

New development in Rafale case, judge appointed to probe deal


A French judge has been assigned to oversee a judicial investigation into the 7.8 billion euro (about Rs 59,000 crore) Rafale agreement that India and France inked in 2016. France has launched an inquiry into allegations of "corruption and favouritism" in the Rafale agreement, which saw 36 Dassault-built fighter planes sold to India in 2016. A French judge has also been assigned to head a legal investigation into the sale, which is valued 7.8 billion euros (about Rs 59,000 crore). The inquiry will examine into charges of corruption and favouritism in the deal for 36 fighter jets between the Indian government and French aircraft maker Dassault, according to the financial crimes division of the French public prosecutor's office (PNF). The criminal inquiry will be overseen by an independent magistrate, according to the French magazine Mediapart, who would "investigate concerns surrounding the acts of former French president François Hollande, among other factors." When the Rafale contract was signed, former French President Hollande was in government, and current French President Emmanuel Macron was Hollande's economics and finance minister. The extremely sensitive investigation of the 2016 intergovernmental agreement was formally launched on June 14, according to Mediapart. Following a series of investigations by Mediapart and a subsequent complaint filed by the French NGO Sherpa, the development occurred. Sherpa had previously brought a similar lawsuit, which was dismissed by the PNF in 2018. In April 2021, Mediapart published a series of investigations on potential flaws in the Rafale purchase. According to one of the sources, former PNF chief Éliane Houlette, over the objections of colleagues, delayed an inquiry into alleged evidence of wrongdoing in the Rafale contract. Dassault Aviation has been silent about the situation. “Numerous controls are conducted out by official institutions, notably the French Anti-Corruption Agency,” it stated earlier, denying any impropriety in the Indo-French transaction. There were no breaches recorded, particularly in the context of the deal with India for the purchase of 36 Rafales. Dassault secured the original deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the supply of 126 fighter planes, but further discussions between the two parties apparently fell through.