Conflict of interest: Congress asks CAG Rajiv Mehrishi to recuse himself from audit of Rafale deal
Mehrishi was the finance secretary from October 24, 2014 to August 30, 2015 and in between Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Paris on April 10, 2015 to sing the Rafale deal, said Kapil Sibal.
NEW DELHI: Amid the buzz that the CAG report on Rafale may be tabled in Parliament on Monday, the Congress on Sunday demanded that CAG Rajiv Mehrishi recuse himself from the audit citing conflict of interest.
Mehrishi served was the finance secretary when PM Narendra Modi visited France and struck a new deal for 36 Rafales in flyaway condition on April 10, 2015.“Finance ministry plays an important role in negotiations. How will CAG investigate himself?” said Congress leader Kapil Sibal.
The conflict of interest angle is an afterthought, as in September and October last, the Congress had taken delegations to Mehrishi demanding a CAG audit.On Sunday, the Congress submitted a fresh memorandum to Mehrishi, urging his recusal.
“You are constitutionally, legally and morally disentitled to either conduct an audit or to present a report before the PAC and the Parliament,” the memorandum read.Mehrishi was the finance secretary when Modi cancelled the 126 aircraft MMRCA deal on June 24, 2015. “The price negotiations of the 36 Rafale aircraft deal commenced in May 2015. Representatives of the finance ministry, that is Member of the Cost Accounts Service and Financial Advisers were part of the Indian negotiation team. Hence, you were involved in the negotiations of Rafale deal,” it added.
The memorandum alleged that corruption was happening with Mehrishi’s knowledge. “This reflects your direct collaboration in the entire matter. That being so, there is no reason or occasion for your to audit the 36 Rafale aircraft deal as you can neither be a judge in your own cause nor can sit in audit over your own actions to which you were a party,” it said.
Cites Rajiv Mehrishi’s conflict of interest
“It is an act of gross impropriety for you to deal with the audit of the 36 Rafale aircraft deal on account of patent conflict of interest... We urge you to recuse yourself and accept the gross impropriety committed by you in initiating the audit,” the memorandum to Mehrishi read.