New Delhi: The Reliance Group on Monday said its chairman Anil Ambani has written to Congress president Rahul Gandhi on the Rafale fighter jet deal, saying his party has been "misinformed, misdirected and misled" by "malicious vested interests and corporate rivals" on the issue.
Ambani, who had first written to Rahul on the issue in December, again wrote to him last week, saying that not a single component worth a single rupee is to be manufactured by his group for the 36 Rafale jets India is buying from France, the company said in a statement.
Rahul has been attacking the government for allegedly inking the deal with France at a much higher price than the one the previous UPA regime had negotiated. His party has demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the deal.
"Allegations of Reliance benefitting by thousands of crores is a figment of imagination, promoted by vested interests," Reliance Group said in a statement, quoting from Ambani's letter. "Simply put, no contract exists with the Government of India."
French company Dassault Aviation, which is supplying the fighter jets, has entered into a joint venture with Reliance Group to meet its offset requirement of the contract.
Under the defence offset, a foreign supplier of equipment agrees to manufacture a given percent of his product (in terms of value) in the buying country. Sometimes, this may take place with technology transfer.
While direct offsets are linked to the original defence contact, where companies often agree to transfer relevant technological know-how or use local suppliers to build the equipment they are selling to the government, indirect offsets have nothing to do with the deal and can include the company making up investments in local industries.
In case of the Rafale deal, which will give newcomer Reliance Group a foothold in the defence industry, the companies have not specified what components they will manufacturer in India.
Ambani, in the letter, expressed "deep anguish over continued personal attacks by Rahul Gandhi on him", the statement said. He termed all allegations as "baseless, ill-informed and unfortunate".
Explaining the role of Reliance in offset exports and work share with Dassault, he said: "The Congress has been misinformed, misdirected and misled by malicious vested interests and corporate rivals."
He said Rafale fighter jets are not being manufactured by Reliance in the Dassault-Reliance joint venture. "All 36 planes are to be 100 percent manufactured in France and exported from France to India... There is no contract from the Ministry of Defence to any Reliance Group company related to the 36 Rafale aircraft."
Ambani said his group's "role is limited to offset/export obligations". "More than 100 medium, small and micro enterprises will participate in this, along with public sector undertakings like BEL and the Defence Research and Development Organisation... This role strengthens Indian manufacturing capabilities and is in pursuance of the Offsets Policy introduced by the Congress-led UPA government itself from 2005 onwards."
He said Reliance Group announced its decision to enter the defence manufacturing sector in December 2014-January 2015, "months before the intention for the purchase of Rafale aircraft".
Updated Date: Aug 20, 2018 19:50 PM