Toronto, Sept 22: After landing the Indian government in dock with his claim that the French side was left with "no other option" but to choose Reliance Defence Ltd as the offset partner in the Rafale deal, former President Francois Hollande said only Dassault Aviation, the manufacturing company of Rafale jets, could clarify on the issue.
France "did not choose Reliance in any way", said Hollande, adding that the deal was finalised between Dassault and the Indian government. Hollande Claims Modi Government Imposed Decision To Select Reliance Defence Ltd As Offset Partner.
FLASH: From Agency AFP, when asked whether India had put pressure on Reliance and Dassault to work together, Ex France President Hollande said he was unaware and "only Dassault can comment on this". pic.twitter.com/YEb8eaD7Gw
— ANI (@ANI) September 22, 2018
Hollande is facing 'conflict of interest' charge from a section of the French media, as Reliance Entertainment, a company floated by Anil Ambani, had entered a deal in 2015 to co-produce a movie of Julie Gayet, the French actor who is Hollande's girlfriend.
Speaking to AFP in Toronto, Hollande said the allegation is baseless. "This group (Reliance) did not have to give me any thanks for anything. I could not even imagine that there was any connection to a film by Julie Gayet," he said, reiterating that his government had no role in Reliance being chosen as the offset partner.
Meanwhile, the Opposition in India has sought the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming that Hollande's statement in an interview with Mediapart, reveals that the "Indian PM deliberately changed the Rafale deal to benefit 'bankrupt' Anil Ambani".