Former French Air Force official rubbishes French media and Congress’ allegations on Rafale Deal

Puncturing another hole in the allegations of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, a former French Air Force official has come out to assert that there is no corruption and favouritism involved in the Rafal Deal, according to a report by India Today. Yves Pagot, who now works as a researcher, was commenting about two ‘official Dassault’ documents which appeared in French media a few days ago. The Congress party had presented these documents saying these will “take the lid of Modi government’s murky sweetheart deal in the Rafale Scam.” French publication Mediapart had published a report based on these documents claiming they were official Dassault Aviation documents, without publishing the documents.

Talking to India Today about the documents, Pagot has said that the document was quoted selectively, and deliberately omitted second part of the document where trade unions were complaining about job loss due to the transfer of work to India. Pagot also informed that the documents were not even internal secret documents from Dassault, but they were trade union document. He has said, “I was shocked to read Mediapart’s second report where they quoted an unpublished internal report from Dassault because it wasn’t an internal secret document, it was a trade union document.”

Pagot has said only a particular page from the document was quoted which had “ambiguity in language”, and another document was withheld where the language used is much clearer. The former air force official says that the second document is from Trade union CFDT which clearly states that it is the ‘Make in India’ provision which is the “inevitable” part of the deal, and the joint venture of Reliance was formed only to fulfil this mandatory provision.

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After the Mediapart report was published, Yves Pagot had tweeted that the publication is spreading falsehood about the so-called “inner document”, and published two documents from two trade unions as “definite clue” of the same on the Portail Aviation website, where he is an editor.

It is important to note that in our earlier report, we had already indicated that the documents were trade union leaflets and not official Dassault documents as claimed, and the documents reflected the ideological orientation of the unions. We had mentioned that CGT was critical of the deal and used ambiguous language about offset obligations, while the CFDT document used much clearer language. Now the French defence expert has confirmed exactly the same point. CFDT is the largest trade union in France by the number of members, and CGT is the second largest.

Pagot has commented that although Mediapart is good with their investigations, this time they are on the wrong side of politics around Dassault, indicating political motivation behind the publication’s campaign against the Rafale deal.

Talking about the price of the jets, he has said that “It’s incredibly difficult to put a price tag here, it’s like buying a house under different conditions, the more Rafales are bought, the more offsets would go back to India.”

We have already reported how completely baseless and fictional allegations are being made about the deal to buy 36 Rafale jets from India, and governments of France and India, and Dassault Aviation has already rebutted those allegations.

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