Cong. panel meets CAG, seeks audit of Rafale deal

Congress Leaders Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Randeep Singh Surjewala and others in New Delhi.

Congress Leaders Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Randeep Singh Surjewala and others in New Delhi.  


Delegation meets Rajiv Mehrishi, says it got assurance report will be tabled soon

Escalating the attack against the Narendra Modi government over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, a Congress delegation met the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Wednesday to ask for a “time-bound forensic audit” of deal that the Congress claims caused a loss of ₹41,000 crore to the exchequer.

Congress leaders claimed that the Modi government would be exposed once the CAG report is tabled in Parliament and said that the CAG had “assured them of submitting the report soon.”

The delegation consisted of Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Surjewala, who handed over a memorandum to CAG Rajiv Mehrishi. The party accused the government of causing a loss to public exchequer and “endangering national security” by overlooking the interests of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, in favour of businessman “friends” for offset contract. In the its memorandum, the Congress alleged violation of the mandatory provisions of the Defence Procurement Procedure in the “unilateral” purchase of 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation. The party maintained that while the previous UPA government was buying Rafale jets for ₹526 crore per aircraft, the rate agreed to by the Modi government is ₹1,670 crore.

“We have demanded forensic audit immediately… We have pointed out that their global tender was alive, the contract was initiated and the agreement between Dassault Aviation and HAL was final. It was only after the Prime Minister’s return [from France in April 2015] that the Cabinet Committee on Security gave a post facto approval, but even then there was no mandate or approval to scrap the global tender. That was done only in the month of June 2015,” Mr. Sharma alleged.

The CAG pointed out that it is his constitutional and fundamental duty to audit all such purchases, procedures and award of contract. “They are examining the papers, they are examining the payments made, and they are examining the procedure and its violation,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

The Congress’ latest move to approach the CAG after demanding a probe by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) has triggered a war of words. “I don’t think a JPC or CAG inquiry is set up to satisfy the ego of an ill-informed leader... who repeats lies with alarming regularity,” said Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a veiled attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 6:07:36 AM |

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