A day after former Union Minister and Congress leader Kipal Sibal accused the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of being involved in “irregularities” in the Rafale deal, reports suggest CAG report on the deal, that was scheduled to be tabled in parliament today, will not be placed today. The report has been finalised after a year-long process and includes a review on pricing as well, apart from comparative pricing of other fighter jets available globally.
The CAG report once submitted to the government is sent to the President and the Finance Ministry, which tables the report in the parliament. After this, the report is sent to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) helmed by the Opposition leader, for evaluation and further inquiries.
The Rs 59,000 crore deal is facing the heat on corruption allegations and charges of supporting big businesses levelled by the Opposition parties. The Opposition has contended that the price per aircraft negotiated by the Modi government is higher than what was originally agreed by the UPA in 2012. However, Modi government has clarified that all rules and procedures in the deal had been followed in the acquisition process.
Last week, a news report in The Hindu had revealed that a defence ministry official had objected to the prime minister’s office entering into “parallel negotiations” with the French on the Rafale deal. The government on its part said that the newspaper knowingly cropped the note of then defence minister Manohar Parrikar on the objections that termed it as mere “over-reaction”.
Yesterday, Kipal Sibal demanded that CAG Rajiv Mehrishi recuse himself from auditing Rafale deal, as he, as the then finance secretary, was part of the negotiations.