- It is not clear whether this was an attempt at espionage
- IAF project management team works from an office in a Paris suburb
- Defence Ministry, IAF or the French Embassy are not commenting on it yet
There was an attempt to break into the office of the Paris office of the Indian Air force (IAF) team overseeing the manufacture of 36 Rafales ordered by India, sources in Rafale-maker Dassault have confirmed to NDTV.
The sources said there was an attempt on Sunday to break into the office of the IAF project management team, which works from an office located in a suburb of Paris. It is not clear whether this was an attempt at espionage, which would be of serious concern for the IAF.
The Indian Project Management Team's office was among three inside a Dassault complex. All the offices were broken into, say sources. E 20,000 may have been stolen from one of the other offices. The police are investigating and have not ruled out anything.
The Indian Project Management team in Paris is headed by a Group Captain-ranked officer of the IAF.
The Defence Ministry, Indian Air Force or the French Embassy have not commented on it yet. News agency ANI has reported a few details of the story.
The Rafale is a nuclear capable aircraft and an attempt to glean some of the technical specifications of the India-specific aircraft could seriously compromise its operations once inducted.
The 36-jet deal has been at the heart of the opposition's allegation against the government of crony capitalism. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of cancelling the previous UPA government's agreement and signing off on an overpriced deal only to facilitate an offset contract for industrialist Anil Ambani's inexperienced defence company.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal