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From 2007-12, Rafale maker paid €7.5 mn to middleman: French portal

The CBI, Ministry of Defence, Dassault Aviation did not comment Monday on the claims and charges made in the portal's report.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: November 9, 2021 10:07:40 am
In the past, Dassault Aviation and Ministry of Defence have rejected allegations of any corruption in the Rafale contract.

French portal Mediapart has alleged that Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of the Rafale fighter aircraft, paid 7.5 million euros to “intermediary” Sushen Gupta’s Mauritius company Interstellar Technologies between 2007 and 2012.

Publishing “bogus” receipts allegedly raised by firms linked to Gupta, Mediapart claimed that the office of the Attorney General of Mauritius sent them to the CBI on October 11, 2018 — it also shared an image of the letter from the Mauritius AG’s office to the CBI.

The CBI, Ministry of Defence, Dassault Aviation did not comment Monday on the claims and charges made in the portal’s report.

“This was how Indian detectives discovered that Sushen Gupta had also acted as an intermediary for Dassault Aviation over the Rafale deal. His Mauritian company Interstellar Technologies received at least 7.5 million euros from the French aviation firm between 2007 and 2012, thanks to IT contracts that were clearly overbilled, and from which most of the money was discreetly sent to Mauritius using a system of alleged false invoices. Some of these invoices even got the name of the French company wrong, referring instead to ‘Dassult Aviation’,” Mediapart said in its report.

In April this year, Mediapart claimed that Gupta, chargesheeted by the Enforcement Directorate in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, had supplied classified documents to Dassault Aviation on the activities of the Indian negotiating team.

In the past, Dassault Aviation and Ministry of Defence have rejected allegations of any corruption in the Rafale contract. In December 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed a bunch of petitions demanding a court-monitored investigation into the deal. It said there was “no occasion to doubt the (decision-making) process” leading to the award of the contract. In November 2019, it rejected review petitions in the matter.

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