Fact Check

“Rs 30,000 Crore in Ambani’s Pocket”- One Among Many lies by Rahul Gandhi on Rafale

rahul gandhi on rafale

We get to hear a variety of lies by Rahul Gandhi on the Rafale deal almost on a daily basis. All his lies and false narratives have been comprehensively busted in our article Rahul Gandhi and Congress Party’s Series of Lies on Rafale. But among many of the lies spoken by Rahul Gandhi on Rafale, a recurring theme has been to equate it with crony capitalism, particularly suggesting some kind of favouritism between Anil Ambani’s Reliance and the Modi government. His repeated jibe in this regard that “PM Modi has put Rs 30,000 crore in Anil Ambani’s pocket”. There are times when this figure changes to Rs 1,30,000 crore as well, in some of his tweets and speeches. We have busted such unreasonable claims earlier also, but now as Dassault Aviation Limited has released some of its official documents, followed by some media reports thereafter have particularly busted this claim of Rahul Gandhi on the Rafale deal. So, let us put together all the facts and see whether Anil Ambani’s Reliance is getting any huge amount of money or not (as claimed by Rahul Gandhi).

1. Dassault on Reliance Share in the Rafale Deal

As reported widely, the whole deal itself is estimated to be worth Rs 59,000 crore. Apparently, Congress and Rahul Gandhi have churned out a figure of Rs 30,000 crore and claimed that this much amount will go to Dassault’s Indian partner, Reliance, on the basis of the offset clause of 50%. But on October 11, 2018, Eric Trappier, the CEO of Dassault Aviation stated that their joint-venture with Reliance will meet about 10% of Dassault Aviation’s offset obligations, as required by the 36 Rafale fighters contract. So, it is obvious that Reliance is not getting any huge amount of money, which is anywhere near Rs 30,000 crore.

Let us now look at the recent report published by The Economic Times, which further discusses what exactly the monetary scope of the offset clause is.

2. The Economic Times Report

The Economic Times report published on October 16, 2018, claims that Reliance Defence could get just over 3 per cent of the Rs 30,000 crore Dassault Aviation offsets’ contract, contrary to the impression that it is the biggest beneficiary of the Rafale fighter jets deal.

The report in its analysis suggests the following points:

  • Dassault Aviation’s total investment commitment is Rs 30,000 crore.
  • Out of this amount, investment in the offset partners is to the tune of Rs 6,500 crore.
  • Further, the report says, though the offset plans have not been formalised and presented to the government yet, and as per the policy there is still time till October 2019, to share details with the Ministry — the share of offsets for Reliance Defence in the deal could be capped at about 3 per cent of the total offsets.
3. What Did Deputy Chief of Air Staff Say?

In fact, back on September 26, 2018 none other than the Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar, Deputy Chief of Air Staff, busted this assumption of Reliance getting Rs 30,000 crore. In an interview with India Today news channel, he categorically said, People are perhaps misinformed. We were a part of the commercial negotiations for Rafale. There is nothing like Rs 30,000 crore to any one party. Dassault has to do offsets to a tune of Rs 6,500 crore. Not more than that.

4. What Reliance Said?

In August 2018, Reliance itself had stated that it is no where getting Rs 30,000 crore offset contract and explained the offset clause in detail. Live Mint reported the Reliance version where one can find all the details.

  • Dassault’s share of offsets is about 25%.
  • Remaining offset obligations being shared by Thales, Safran, MBDA and others.
  • 30% of total offsets can be discharged through the transfer of technology to DRDO.

Here is the relevant part of the report shown below and highlighted.

Conclusion

Thus, the official statement of the French aviation company, Dassault and all other evidence in this matter clearly demonstrate that Reliance Defence Company is not getting any ‘bounty’ as propagated by Congress President Rahul Gandhi. His repeated the claim that “PM Modi has taken away Rs 30,000 crore from the Public Sector Unit to put that into Anil Ambani’s pocket” has proven to be a vibrant lie.

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  • KS

    Let us try to make some sense of Raul’s statement. It could be that Reliance could end up getting about 3% of 30,000 Cr offsets. Which means they would be 50:50 partners in an investment of about 1000Cr., their share being 500 Cr. They can put in all their dumb assets & inflate their valuation to make up the 500 Cr & make a whopping profit of say 300 Cr. Thereafter the business that partnership does. No one has any clue on the likely values of offset services. Assuming it would be 20% of purchase cost ie 12,000 Cr, Reliance JV may get say 25% of the cake, it works out to 3000 Cr. Profit margins of 50%, JV rakes in 1500Cr & Reliance gets a whopping 750 Cr per annum! This business would only keep expanding as fleet increases, Reliance would achieve a total profit of 30,000 Crs in a short period of 40 years or less. No doubt Raul must be talking of a long term loot in that case? But even in this respect, how can doing business & earning profits would rank exactly as ‘looting’? That is a moot point that we need further clarity from the escape velocity genius!