The Congress and other opposition parties latched on to the report and stepped up their attack on the Modi government over the deal.
"We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us", Hollande told the French investigative website Mediapart on Friday.
"It is reiterated that neither GoI nor [the] French government had any say in the commercial decision". "The PM has betrayed India, He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers", Rahul tweeted.
"Now, what the ex-President of France is saying is that the Prime Minister of India is a "thief". What is the new lie that the government will put out in response to Mr Hollande?"
"Prime minister, speak the truth".
Modi has faced repeated calls to resign over his role in the 2016 purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft from France, which saw the private conglomerate, Reliance Group, picked over a public company as the Indian joint-venture partner.
The French government had on Friday night said they were in no manner involved in the choice of the Indian industrial partners who have been, are being or will be selected by French companies.
"This is Dassault Aviation's choice, as (Dassault) CEO Eric Trappier explained in an interview published in MINT newspaper on April 17", the company, which also makes Falcon business planes, said in a statement. "This is Dassault Aviation's choice", the French company said.
Reliance did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The BJP didn't react on the fresh revelations in the Rafale deal controversy on which the Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had so far been leading the charge against the Opposition Congress.
"The PM personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors".
Congress leader P. Chidambaram said, "In the NDA-negotiated Rafale aircraft deal, we have got no aircraft, we have got only lies". Foreign manufacturers obtaining arms contracts in India are obliged to reinvest a portion of the sums collected in India. French firm Dassault had spent years negotiating a deal for 126 fighter jets to be manufactured in India with HAL, but talks had stalled. The government has been maintaining it did not have any role in selection of the offset partner by Dassault.
In a two-hour interaction, the Congress president continually alleged that the RSS was out to attack independent institutions and was trying to take over the education system.
"By hiding crucial facts on Rafale deal, is Modi govt not endangering national security?"
"It's unlikely to blow up into a full scale issue", Shailesh Kumar, Asia director at risk firm Eurasia Group. However, analysts cautioned that the intricacies of complex defense deals may not resonate with voters more concerned about inflation and the rising price of fuel.