While the French government said French companies have the full freedom to select Indian firms for the deal, Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, said it had made the decision to partner with Reliance Defence Ltd.
"We didn't have a say on the subject". "The Indian government proposed this service group and Dassault negotiated with Ambani". Ahead of India's 2019 general election, in which Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party will campaign on its pro-poor policies and economic development record, the allegations of impropriety against the government could provide fuel to opposition critiques that the prime minister is too cozy with tycoons. "This time by then President of France, Mr Hollande", said P. Chidambaram, former finance minister, to CNBC-TV18.
"No matter what the indian government says that perception is that the Indian government gave the offset contract to Anil Ambani, a guy who has no history of producing defense equipment", says Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a New Delhi based political analyst.
He also claimed that various defence ministers of the NDA government have been lying to protect Modi.
"By hiding crucial facts on Rafale deal, is Modi government not endangering national security?"
It contradicted the Modi government's claims that the French manufacturer had chosen Reliance Defence and the government had nothing to do with it. "It establishes that our prime minister took his friend to France to finalise this deal", he told ANI. The nation wants to know the truth, whole truth.
This has nothing to do with the Government of India and, therefore, any private industry having benefited from the Government of India is a complete lie. "People have started suspecting by now that something fishy has been done (in Rafale deal), else why would the government lie day after day", the Delhi chief minister added. On taking office, the Modi government cancelled the negotiations and chose to directly purchase 36 jets made in France. "Why was the Indian government batting for one corporate house with no experience in defence manufacture?"
Asked who selected Reliance as a partner and why, Hollande replied, "We had no say in this regard".
The defence ministry statement said "The government has stated earlier and again reiterates that it had no role in the selection of Reliance Defence as the Offset partner".
Party spokesperson Manish Tewari tweeted: "President (former) Francois Hollande should also enlighten us how the price went up from 590 crore in 2012 to 1690 crore in 2015 per Rafale fighter jet?".
The Ministry of Defence on Saturday reiterated its stand by saying that the Government of India had no role in the selection of Indian Offset partner for the Rafale deal.