When the Tax was almost A-NIL : ₹1,052 Crore Tax Waiver given to Anil Ambani by French Government #RafaleScam

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Narendra Modi with Former French President Francois Hollande
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The Rafale deal on Saturday sunk into more controversy following reports that France waived tax worth Rs 143.7 million Euro or ₹1,052 Crore for Anil Ambani’s French-based company after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 36 jet deal with Dassault.

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French national newspaper Le Monde reported USD 162.6 million was waived off in favour of Anil Ambani’s France-based telecom company called “Reliance Atlantic Flag France”. Anil Ambani’s tax debt, result of a disputed tax litigation, was cleared a few months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Rafale deal with France.

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According to the local media outlet Le Monde,

  • The tax dispute, was settled by October 2015 when India and France-based Dassault Aviation were negotiating the Rafale deal
  • A few months earlier, PM Modi, during an official visit to France in April 2015, had announced that India would acquire 36 fully built Rafale fighter jets from the French company Dassault

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Tax Debt as reported by French Newspaper Le Monde:

  • Anil Ambani’s company was reportedly investigated by the French tax authorities and found liable to pay 60 million euros in taxes for the period 2007 to 2010
  • Reliance Atlantic Flag France had offered to pay 7.6 million euros as taxes but the French authorities refused and conducted another investigation
  • Reliance offered to pay 7.6 million euros as a settlement
  • The French tax authorities refused. They conducted another investigation for the period 2010 to 2012 and asked for an additional 91 million euros in taxes
  • Another investigation for the period 2010 to 2012 was conducted by the French authorities and Anil Ambani’s company was asked for an additional 91 million euros in taxes
  • In April 2015, PM Narendra Modi announced the Rafale deal with France-based Dassault
  • By the time the prime minister announced India’s deal to buy 36 Rafale combat aircraft, the total amount owed by Reliance to the French state in taxes was at least 151 million euros
  • However, just six months after PM Modi’s Rafale announcement, the French tax authorities reportedly settled Anil Ambani’s 143.7 million euros tax dispute litigation and accepted 7.3 million euros from Reliance as a settlement, instead of the original tax debt of 151 million euros
  • Six months after Modi’s Rafale announcement, the French tax authorities accepted 7.3 million euros from Reliance as a settlement, instead of the much bigger sum of 151 million euros
  • So between February and October 2015, while the French were negotiating the Rafale contract with India, Anil Ambani enjoyed a tax waiver of 143,7 million euros from the French state
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The report in Le Monde immediately gave ammunition to the Opposition in the midst of Lok Sabha elections, which targeted Modi and BJP claiming that it has once again exposed corruption in the deal.

The Opposition, especially Congress president Rahul Gandhi, had been claiming that the selection of Ambani as an offset partner in the deal was part of a quid pro quo in place of government-owned Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd (HAL).

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