Thursday, April 08, 2021

Middleman earned millions, leaked confidential defence ministry info during Rafale negotiations: Report

New Delhi: The third and final part of the investigation into the Rafale jets deal by French news portal Mediapart has revealed that businessman Sushen Gupta and his intermediaries received "several million Euros" from Dassault and its affiliates.

In turn, Gupta and his intermediaries "leaked confidential information", including crucial documents of the Indian defence ministry about the Indian negotiating team's positions and arguments it was likely to put forward during the negotiations.

Documents accessed by the French media portal suggest that Sushen Gupta acted as middleman for Dassault Aviation and its industrial partner Thales, for several years starting early 2000s.

Thales is a Paris-based defence-electronics company in which Dassault and the Government of France are stakeholders.

According to the Mediapart report, Thales "paid Sushen Gupta several million Euros in secret commissions to offshore accounts and shell companies, using inflated invoices for software consulting".

Sushen Gupta comes from a family of defence contractors and was reportedly hired by the French side at the beginning of the 2000s, when news of India seeking to acquire 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts (MMRCA) first surfaced.

His contract seemingly lasted until the signing of the final agreement between India and France.

Sushen Gupta is also accused of laundering money in another controversial defence deal, the VVIP Chopper Deal, which now stands scrapped.

08/04/21 Ankit Kumar/India Today

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