New Delhi: According to sources, the CAG report on Rafale fighter jets deal will now be tabled in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, the last day of the ongoing session. Reportedly, the copies of the CAG report have not yet reached the Parliament. Also Read - Rafale Corruption Charges 'Completely Baseless', Says BJP on Claims by French Publication
The Narendra Modi government is likely to table the CAG report on Rafale fighter jets deal in the Lok Sabha amid the ongoing political storm over the defence deal. Also Read - Rafale Deal: Dassault Paid 1 Million Euros to Indian Middleman As Gift, Claims French Report
The report on the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault was submitted by CAG Rajiv Mehrishi to President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday. Also Read - Rafale Deal: First Squadron of 5 Jets Flies Out of France, to Reach India on Wednesday
The Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal has long been a contentious issue between the NDA government and the Opposition, with the latter levelling corruption and crony capitalism charges against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Former minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday alleged conflict of interest and also asked the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi to recuse himself from auditing the deal as he was the finance secretary when the deal was negotiated. Mehrishi had joined the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance as Secretary in October 2014.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley, however, rebutted the claims of Sibal saying that the Congress was casting aspersions on the institution of CAG based on “falsehood”.
Recently, The Hindu reported that defence ministry had raised ‘strong objections’ to the “parallel negotiations” conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with the French side over the Rafale deal. A defence ministry note dated November 24, 2015 given to the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar further read that such discussions only “weakened the negotiating position of the MoD”.
The Rafale jets purchase issue continues to rock the Parliament with Congress President Rahul Gandhi directly accusing the Prime Minister of benefiting industrialist Anil Ambani. The ‘Rafale controversy’ has headlined most of the Congress’ campaigns since late 2018.