Contradicting Modi-led NDA’s claim that the process of choosing Reliance Defence as an offset partner for the Rafale deal was a purely commercial decision that was driven by French company Dassault Aviation, French ex-President Francois Hollande said that his government had no say in choosing Anil Ambani’s Reliance for the pact. He went on say that that it was the Indian government that had proposed the name of Ambani’s Reliance for the deal.

Hollande also denied any deal of a film by his partner Julie Gayet with Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment. Earlier, reports had claimed that Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment had signed an agreement with Gayet to produce a film two days before Hollande attended Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi in 2016. It was during this visit that Hollande signed a memorandum of understanding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliver 36 Rafale aircraft to India.

Over the past few weeks, the Modi-led NDA underwent a baptism of fire with the Opposition questioning the selection of Reliance Defence as partner in the intergovernmental pact. However, the government had maintained that it had nothing to do with Dassault Aviation choosing Reliance.

“This has nothing to do with the Government of India and, therefore, any private industry having benefitted from the Government of India is a complete lie. Can Shri Gandhi and his Party deny this?” Jaitley was quoted by The Wire as saying. 

With Hollande’s remark, Congress has upped the ante against the BJP.