New Delhi: Dassault Aviation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Trappier has rubbished allegations made by Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi that the former lied about the details of the Dassault- Reliance Joint Venture (JV) for offset contracts in the Rafale Jet deal.
“I don’t lie. The truth I declared before and the statements I made are true. I don’t have a reputation for lying. In my position as CEO, you don’t lie,” said Trappier when asked to respond to Rahul Gandhi’s charge that Dassault was covering up for possible cronyism in awarding the offset deal to Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group.
Rahul Gandhi, in a press conference on 2 November, alleged that Dassault invested Rs 284 crore in a loss-making company promoted by Anil Ambani which was used to procure land in Nagpur.
“It is clear the Dassault CEO is lying. If an inquiry starts on this Modi is not going to survive it. Guaranteed,” added Gandhi.
Dassault’s CEO Eric Trappier said that they had prior experience dealing with the Congress party and the comments made by the Congress president made him sad.
“We have a long experience with the Congress party. Our first deal was with India in 1953 with Nehru and other Prime Ministers. We have been working with India. We are not working for any party. We are supplying strategic products like fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Government. That is what is most important,” said Trappier.
When pressed further for the reason behind Dassault’s choice of Reliance as an offset partner which had no experience in manufacturing fighter jets, Trappier clarified that the money being invested was not going to Reliance directly but in a Joint Venture (JV) that included Dassault.
Trappier clarified further about the investments being made by Dassault, adding that Reliance would match the amount since the shareholding pattern is 49% Dassault and 51% Reliance as per prescribed Government norms.
“We are supposed to put in this company together about Rs 800 crore as 50:50. For the time being, to start work in the hangar and to pay workers and employees, we have already put Rs 40 crore. But it will be increased to Rs 800 crore, which implies Rs 400 crore by Dassault in the coming five years,” said Trappier.
He added Dassault has seven years to perform offset. “During the first three years, we are not obliged to say with who we are working. We have already settled work an agreement with 30 companies, which represents 40% of total offset obligation as per contract. Reliance is 10% out of the 40, while rest 30% is a direct agreement between these companies and Dassault,” Trappier said.
On the pricing issue, the CEO said that the present aircrafts are cheaper by 9 %. “Price of 36 was exactly the same when you compare with 18 flyaway. 36 is the double of 18, so as far as I was concerned, it should have been double the price. But because it was government to government, there was some negotiation, I had to decrease the price by 9%. The price of Rafale in flyaway condition is less expensive in the 36 contracts than the 126 contracts,” he said.
Talking about the aircraft, the Dassault CEO explained that the present planes will have all necessary equipments but not weapons and missiles. “The weapons will be sent in a different contract. But the aircraft with everything other than weapons will be dispatched by Dassault,” he said.