Rafale Controversy: Sushen Gupta Denies Any Involvement in Aircraft Deal 

In a statement attributed to his counsel, Gupta has claimed that he has never been a commercial agent in relation to defence deals.

New Delhi: Defence businessman Sushen Gupta on Friday denied all claims made in recent French media reports regarding his alleged role in the controversial sale of 36 Rafale jets to India in 2016.

A statement put out on Friday afternoon, which is attributed to Gupta’s legal counsel, has noted that the businessman rejects all claims of “impropriety, irregularity or illegality”.

“The reports seem to be motivated. It is preposterous to suggest that a private individual could have influenced a government to governmental transaction for the acquisition of 36 Rafale jets,” the statement noted.

In its three-part series on the Rafale deal, Paris-based investigative website Mediapart claimed that Gupta played the role of an alleged middleman and received millions of euros in commission from French companies such as Dassault Aviation and Thales.

The French publication, whose reports rely apparently on the Enforcement Directorate’s case file, also alleged that the businessman had illegally obtained defence ministry documents during the Rafale negotiations in order to help the other side.

Gupta, who is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the VVIP chopper scam, however, has denied any involvement in the Rafale deal.

His legal counsel’s statement notes that Gupta has “never been a commercial agent in relation to defence deals, whether of Dassault or of any other entity” and that he has “never obtained or shared any classified government documents”.

In its reports, Mediapart had claimed that Gupta used an IT services company called IDS, where a member of his family allegedly worked, to receive payments from Dassault.

In response, Gupta’s legal counsel claims this is incorrect.

“Sushen Gupta does not have any companies or bank accounts outside India and has never had any offshore dealings with Dassault, Thales or Safran as alleged. It is made clear that there have been no financial transactions whatsoever of Sushen Gupta or his companies with ‘IDS’, Interdev or Interstellar,” the statement noted.

The statement adds that the French reports appear to be based on material that has been “incorrectly and falsely attributed” to Gupta.

“The credibility of both, the source, as well as materials submitted by the source, in the proceedings is currently under challenge before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India as being false, self-serving and motivated. In light of the above, there is no doubt that the report is completely false and the disparagement and harm it implies must cease immediately.”