Arrested in Agusta case, middleman named in deal to make Rafale models


Dassault Aviation, the producer of French struggle jet Rafale, paid no less than Euros 508,925 in opposition to an bill for Euro 1 million raised via an Indian company managed via a intermediary — Sushen Gupta — already below investigation within the AgustaWestland case, French on-line investigative magazine Mediapart reported Monday.

This alleged fee got here to mild throughout a scheduled audit of Dassault’s 2017 accounts via French anti-corruption company AFA. While Dassault claimed the cash was once used to pay Defsys Solutions for production 50 massive reproduction fashions of Rafale jets quickly after the signing of the Indo-French contract in 2016, in step with Mediapart, the corporate may just now not furnish any evidence to AFA that those fashions had been certainly made.

“Yet against all apparent logic, the AFA decided not to refer the matter to prosecutors,” Mediapart stated. In the primary of its three-part sequence known as “Rafale Papers,” Mediapart stated “Dassault group was unable to provide the AFA with a single document showing that these models existed and were delivered, and not even a photograph” and the “inspectors thus suspected that this was a bogus purchase designed to hide hidden financial transactions”.

Defsys Solutions belongs to the relations of Sushen Gupta, whose relations “acted as middlemen in the aeronautical and defence industries for three generations”, the Mediapart record stated.

Sushen Gupta “operated as an agent for Dassault, had worked on the Rafale contract and had allegedly obtained confidential documents from India’s Ministry of Defence”.

US nationwide Gupta was once arrested via the Enforcement Directorate (ED) within the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP choppers deal case below the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in March 2019.

Subsequently, the company filed fees in opposition to him for laundering Rs 55.83 crore, allegedly paid as kickbacks to influential folks in India to land the deal for AgustaWestland. He is out on bail.

Sushen Gupta and his elder brother Sushant hand over Defsys Solutions as administrators in 2018 however they proceed to possess the corporate thru family-owned DMG Finances and Investments Pvt Ltd. Despite a number of makes an attempt, the Guptas and their legal professionals had been unavailable for remark.

Defsys Solutions was once arrange in 2007 via Biswa Bihari Misra, a retired IAF officer, and his relations in Bangalore. In 2008, Misra and his spouse transferred the stocks to Spiral E-Systems Pvt Ltd and Foresight Solutions Pvt Ltd, two firms due to this fact amalgamated with DMG Finances and Investments.

Asked about his partnership with the Guptas, Misra claimed he had “no background” with them. “They (Guptas) came in as investors with funds. I left the company by 2012. I cannot comment on these media reports since I have no knowledge of the functioning of the company for nearly 10 years,” stated Misra.

Responding to the Mediapart record, the Congress demanded a radical probe. Said birthday party chief Randeep Surjewala: “The allegations of causing loss to public exchequer, bribery and payment of commission in India’s biggest defence once again stare in the face of the Modi Government.”

The birthday party requested the Government to give an explanation for how “middleman and payment of commission (was) permitted” in a Government-to-Government Defence Contract. He stated the record had affirmed Rahul Gandhi’s price of corruption within the deal.

In the run-up to the 2019 elections, with the exception of claiming that the federal government had agreed to pay the next value in step with fighter jet, in comparison to what the UPA-led govt was once prepared to pay, the Opposition had additionally accused the federal government of favouring Anil Ambani-owned Reliance firms of bagging offset offers value Rs 30,000 crore.

The BJP disregarded the Mediapart record and allegations as “completely baseless” and stated {that a} call for for an investigation into the deal were rejected via the Supreme Court in 2018 and the Comptroller and Auditor General, too, had now not discovered anything else unsuitable with it.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stated at a press convention that the opposition had made the deal a large factor within the 2019 Lok Sabha polls however misplaced badly, and that the Mediapart record may well be because of “corporate rivalry” in France. He stated that the Congress had raised the problem up to now as neatly, however neither the Supreme Court nor the CAG had discovered anything else unsuitable.

The Supreme Court, in December 2018, had disregarded a host of petitions filed via former BJP leaders Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha, recommend Prashant Bhushan, Aam Aadmi Party Leader Sanjay Singh, amongst others, difficult a court-monitored investigation into the deal.

The apex courtroom had said that it discovered “no reason for any intervention… on the sensitive issue,” and that “perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a fishing and roving enquiry.”

It famous there was once “no occasion to doubt the (decision-making) process” and refused to get into the query of pricing announcing that was once now not the courtroom’s activity. In November 2019, a bench, headed via the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, additionally rejected overview petitions filed via Shourie, Sinha, Bhushan and Singh. —(With ENS)



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