In 2011, months before the UPA government’s Ministry of Defence announced that Dassault Aviation had been selected for the supply of 126 Rafale fighter jets, the company appointed Suhel Seth as part of its brand-building exercise in India for a four-year period. The agreement commenced in July 2011.
Seth, Managing Partner of consultancy major Counselage India, was paid a monthly fee of Rs 12 lakh by Dassault Aviation. Confirming his association with Dassault Aviation, he said it had continued between 2011 and 2015. Along with Counselage being appointed for brand building, Ogilvy PR was appointed to handle public relations for the company.
Seth told The Indian Express that his assignment with Dassault Aviation as head of Counselage India was for “brand building of the mother brand”. He said he was mandated to “work towards the CSR effort as also monitor the advertising and branding for the mother brand.”
He, however, pointed out that his assignment with Dassault was in no way linked to the price and design negotiations with the Ministry of Defence for sale of Rafale jets, which were finally concluded in 2016.
“I had zero role in the Rafale deal. I was more focused on the consumer brands, the sale of Falcon jets, Dassault’s systems company and acting as an interface with the mother company. I was not dealing with what they are selling. And everything I earned from Dassault was paid to me by cheque and declared to tax,’’ Seth said.
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