India's Modi faces new 'corruption' allegations over French fighter deal

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As India heads into tightly fought general elections on Thursday, outgoing Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become further engulfed in a suspected corruption scandal surrounding the sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter jets, built by French group Dassault Aviation, in a deal he signed in 2016. It emerged this weekend that, during negotiations over the contract, the French tax authorities extraordinarily wrote off a tax debt of more than 140 million euros owed by a French company belonging to Anil Ambani, an Indian businessman and friend of Modi’s, whose company was made industrial partner in the deal in questionable circumstances. Meanwhile, anti-corruption NGO Sherpa has submitted further information to the French public prosecution services over numerous “irregularities” that implicate the different parties in the contract, worth 7.7 billion euros.

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As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government prepares for an increasingly tight battle in general elections which begin on Thursday, new revelations this weekend have added to suspicions of corruption surrounding the 7.7-billion-euro sale by France to India of 36 Rafale fighter jets in a deal signed by Modi in 2016.