Reliance Anil Dhirubai Ambani Group (ADAG) chairman, Anil Ambani has written to Congress president Rahul Gandhi refuting allegations of his Reliance Group lacking experience to get the Rafale fighter jet deal and said the government had no role in French Group Dassault picking up his company as a local partner.
In a two-page letter written on December 12, 2017, Ambani is reported to have explained to Rahul Gandhi, who has been attacking the government over the Rafale deal, why his Reliance Group bagged the multi-billion dollar project. Invoking his family’s “respectful relationship” with the Gandhi family over generations, Mr. Ambani said he was “personally saddened” by the “unfortunate statements” against him and his group by several functionaries of the Congress party.
“Not only do we have the necessary experience but we are also the leaders in several important areas of defence manufacture,” he said in the letter written on the last day of campaigning for the Gujarat assembly polls that was marked by political mud-slinging over the Rafale fighter jet deal.
He said Reliance Defence has the largest shipyard in the private sector at Pipavav in Gujarat and is currently building five Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) for the Indian Navy and 14 Fast Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard. “The decision of the Government of India to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was made through an inter-governmental agreement signed between the two countries. “Also, all these 36 aircraft are being manufactured in France and will be delivered on a ‘fly away’ basis from Dassault manufacturing facilities in France to the Indian Air Force and no Indian company has any role to play,” Ambani is reported to have written in the letter.
Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the government on the deal which he claims was inked at a much higher price than the one the previous UPA regime had negotiated. Last week during the debate on the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, he accused the government of changing the deal to benefit “one businessman“.
“I fully appreciate that in the midst of the heat and dust of political campaigning, as in the recent context of elections in Gujarat, a lot has often been said. Nonetheless, considering that my entire family and I, starting with my respected father, have had the privilege of enjoying a very respectful relationship with the Gandhi family over generations as well as the Congress party for the past more than four decades, these statements have saddened and hurt our sentiments,” Anil Ambani said in the letter.