Dassault chief executive officer Eric Trappier rubbished allegations made by Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi that Dassault was covering up for possible cronyism in the Rafale deal, saying he does not need to lie.
“I don’t lie. The truth I declared before and the statements I made are true,” Trappier told ANI backing the move. Gandhi had 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.
“I don’t have a reputation of lying. In my position as CEO, you don’t lie,” Trappier hit back in the interview. The Dassault CEO also said that his company is supplying fighters to Indian Air Force and Indian government and not working for any party.
When questioned on why Dassault picked Reliance as its offset partner despite having little experience in making fighter jets, Trappier said that they have put money in a joint venture and not Reliance. “We are not putting money in Reliance. The money is going into the JV.”
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 first three years, we are not obliged to say with who we are working. We have already settled work and 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 price by 9%. The price of Rafale in flyaway condition is less expensive in the 36 contract than the 126 contract,” he said.