CAG Rajiv Mehrishi can’t audit Rafale, he was part of deal, says Congress, points to conflict of interest
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CAG Rajiv Mehrishi can’t audit Rafale, he was part of deal, says Congress, points to conflict of interest

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said Mehrishi cannot act against himself as there lies a conflict of interest in doing so and demanded that he recuse himself from the CAG report on Rafale deal.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2019 20:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CAG,Rajiv Mehrishi,Rafale
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal addresses a press conference at AICC headquarters in New Delhi, Sunday. (PTI)

Congress on Sunday accused the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of conflict interest in the Rafale fighter jet deal report, saying he was the finance secretary when the deal was inked between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then-France president Francois Hollande.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said Mehrishi cannot act against himself as there lies a conflict of interest in doing so and demanded that he recuse himself from the CAG report on Rafale deal.

“CAG is going to completely save the government in its report. The whole deal was materialized in the supervision of Rajiv Mehrishi who was the then finance secretary. When the negotiations started the Ministry of Finance were part of it,” Sibal said, according to news agency ANI.

“This is the corrupt deal and fair investigation should be done, but how can CAG investigate himself when he was the finance secretary. There is a clear conflict of interest,” he claimed, ANI reported.

Accusing Mehrishi of being “complicit” in the “irregularities” in the deal, Sibal said there was no reason or occasion for you to audit the 36 Rafale aircraft deal.

Congress has been accusing the Modi government of corruption in the deal, alleging that the price of the aircraft was raised and the offset deal was taken from state-owned aircraft maker HAL and given to businessman Anil Ambani’s newly formed Reliance Defence, which had no experience.

The government and Anil Ambani have repeatedly refuted all allegations of irregularities and corruption.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi stepped up his attack on the Narendra Modi government over Rafale deal on Friday following a news report claiming that the defence ministry objected to “parallel parleys” by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with the French authorities.

A report published by The Hindu claimed that “the French side took advantage of parallel parleys by the PMO that weakened Indian team’s position” in negotiating the Rafale deal with France.

First Published: Feb 10, 2019 18:20 IST