Congress leaders meet CAG seeking probe into Rafale deal

A Congress delegation on Wednesday met the Comptroller and Auditor General to seek a probe into the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets by the Narendra Modi government.

Published: 19th September 2018 12:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2018 06:48 PM   |  A+A-

Former defence minister A K Antony addresses a press conference on the issue of Rafale deal in New Delhi. (Photo| PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Congress, which has often blamed the CAG reports on 2G spectrum and coal blocks for the UPA's defeat in 2014 national polls, has now turned to the same organization to nail the Modi government over alleged corruption in the Rafale jet deal.

The Congress, which has decided to make the Rafale deal a major plank ahead of the 2019 national polls, on Wednesday urged Comptroller and Auditor General of India Rajiv Mehrishi to examine why the Modi government caused loss to the public exchequer in the purchase of 36 aircraft from Dassault Aviation of France.

The Congress memorandum to the CAG rests on two main points-the NDA paid Rs 1,670 cr per piece against Rs 526 cr during the UPA and public sector HAL was overlooked for private player Reliance in offset benefits worth Rs 30,000 cr.

Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala said: "The CAG said they are already examining the entire Rafale deal. We hope that once the report is out, the entire price controversy, why Rs. 41,000 crore was paid extra and why was Reliance was chosen over HAL will come out in public domain and the Modi government would be exposed.

Over the past months the BJP has charged that the deal did not take place during the UPA and the Congress has argued that its negotiations were in the final stages but PM Modi unilaterally cancelled the previous deal. In order to corner the centre on that count, the opposition party has sought a forensic audit of the UPA's tender document for 126 aircraft.

"That tender document gives all the details as to what was India's requirement.that has been subsequently confirmed in the Price Negotiating Committee and the Contract Negotiating Committee. That was also reflected in the April 10, 2015 joint statement of the PM and then French President Francoise Hollande," senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

"For the government, the defence minister and the Prime Minister to say defend the deal saying the IAF was without weaponry and without avionics is false and we challenge them," he said.

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