Congress leaders meet CAG, demand forensic audit of Rafale deal
A Congress delegation on Wednesday met the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), demanding a time-bound special and forensic audit of the Rafale aircraft deal by examining the records threadbare.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the CAG was examining the matter and assured them a report would be submitted in Parliament soon. The Congress will also meet the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC) on the issue.
The delegation, comprising senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Surjewala, later handed over a memorandum to CAG Rajiv Mehrishi, listing the “acts of commission and omission” by the government in the deal announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015.
“They (CAG) assured that they will look at the documents and submit a report to Parliament after examining all the contentions raised by the Congress party,” Surjewala said.
The opposition party accused the Modi government of causing a loss of ₹41,000 crore to the public exchequer and endangering the national security by sidestepping the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in favour of some “businessman friends” for offset contract.
The Congress alleged that the fresh deal for Rafale fighter jets was signed by the Modi government at a cost much higher than what was negotiated by the previous UPA dispensation. “The CAG pointed out that it is his constitutional and fundamental duty to audit all such purchases, procedures, award of contract,” Surjewala said.
“The CAG said that they are already examining the entire Rafale deal. They are examining the papers, the payments, and the procedure and its violation,” he added.
In its memorandum, the Congress claimed that violation of mandatory provisions of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) in the “unilateral” purchase of 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation resulted in the loss of Rs 41,000 crore.
Surjewala alleged that Prime Minister Modi is “personally responsible” for violating the DPP and exclusion of the HAL from getting an offset contract worth over ₹30,000 crore from Dassault Aviation. “Modi will be exposed soon,” he claimed.
The Congress claimed that while the previous UPA government was buying Rafale jets for ₹526 crore per aircraft, the price fixed by the Modi dispensation was ₹1,670 crore.
The BJP refused to comment, however, the government has been maintaining that there was no wrongdoing in the deal.