New Delhi: The Congress delegation has submitted a detailed memorandum along with enclosures to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) while seeking a probe into the alleged irregularities in the high-profile Rafale fighter aircraft deal.
“We submitted a detailed memorandum along with enclosures which very clearly establishes irregularities in Rafale purchase. We hope that the matter will be looked into by CAG,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said after party delegation’s meeting with the CAG.
The Congress delegation consisting of party leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Vivek Tankha reportedly met the CAG at 11.15 AM. The delegation was also joined by Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
Earlier on Tuesday, senior Congress leader AK Antony, while launching yet another offensive against the BJP government over the Rafale deal, accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of ‘suppressing facts’ and asked if the price finalised by the NDA was cheaper than negotiated by UPA why it bought only 36 aircraft and not 126 aircraft.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, however, rejected the demand saying all the details on it have already been placed before Parliament. She, however, did not give any direct reply on Antony’s charge on why the NDA did not buy more aircraft if its price was cheaper.
Antony also accused the government of being “guilty” of “gravely compromising” national security in the Rafale fighter jet deal and accused prime minister Narendra Modi of violating the defence procurement procedure (DPP).
The former defence minister accused Sitharaman of trying to tarnish the image of public-sector HAL both nationally and globally.
Sitharaman instead slammed the UPA alleging that it did not extend support to HAL, saying, “The UPA did not care for either the Indian Air Force or the HAL. To say that we are not taking care of HAL is totally incorrect.”
The Rafale jets were chosen during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) tenure in 2012. Initially, India had planned to buy 18 off-the-shelf jets from France, with 108 others to be assembled in the country by the state-run aerospace and defence company HAL.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government scrapped the UPA’s plan in 2015 and announced that it would buy 36 “ready-to-fly” Rafale jets instead of seeking a technology transfer from France’s Dassault Aviation and making the aircraft in India.