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Indian AF Official Removed After Dassault Bribery Charge

Jul. 16, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
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NEW DELHI — Following complaints from an official of France’s Dassault, which is the preferred vendor in the $11 billion Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, an Indian Air Force official was dismissed from service today.

Air Force Wing Commander A.K. Thakur allegedly demanded a bribe from a Dassault executive in the Aero India show at Bangalore in 2011. Court-martial proceedings against the official confirmed the charge leveled by the Dassault official, said Indian Air Force sources.

Thakur was accused of demanding a bribe for allotting an advantageous position for the Rafale in the static aircraft display section.

Rafale is the preferred aircraft in the MMRCA program and talks are now in the contract negotiation stage. The MMRCA program was floated globally in 2007, and the contract has still not been inked.

While the dismissal of the Air Force official is unlikely to affect the outcome of the negotiations, Air Force sources said the incident created bitterness among some service officials toward the French company.

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