New Delhi, Sep 19: A high-level Congress delegation on Wednesday met Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi with its demand for a probe into the Narendra Modi government’s deal with France to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets.
The delegation that included senior party leaders — Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Ahmed Patel and Randeep Singh Surjewala — also submitted an eight-page memorandum to the CAG giving the history of the proposal to acquire fighter jets, the process for which began in 2007 during the UPA government.
“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”, Senior party leader Anand Sharma told media after meeting of Congress delegation with CAG.
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: Anand Sharma after meeting of Congress delegation with Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) pic.twitter.com/mUGMap4VZc
— ANI (@ANI) September 19, 2018
The memorandum said that “unilateral” purchase of 36 jets from Dassault Aviation has created “loss to public exchequer, endangered national security, bypassed Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to benefit crony friends, and violated the mandatory provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)”.
Yesterday, Former Defence Minister AK Antony had accused Prime Minister Modi led-NDA government of compromising national security by reducing the number of fighter planes to be procured from 126 as negotiated by the UPA government to 36.
Speaking to media Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala “CAG told us that they were examining the entire Rafale deal including the payments and procedures made”.
“Modi will be exposed soon…as CAG has assured (us) that they will look at all the documents that we brought in the public domain and very soon it will submit a report in Parliament,” he said.
Surjewala said Modi is “personally responsible” for violating the DPP and exclusion of the HAL from getting an offset contract worth over Rs 30,000 crore from Dassault Aviation.
Pointing to the violations of DPP by Modi, the memorandum says: “No mandatory prior approval of ‘Cabinet Committee on Security’ was taken before announcing purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft on 10th April, 2015.
“Mandatory requirement of DPP for ‘Price Discovery’ through the instrumentalities of ‘Contract Negotiation Committee’ (CNC) and ‘Price Negotiation Committee’ (PNC) were not followed by the PM. Transfer of Technology to HAL for manufacture of Rafale aircraft in India was also sacrificed by the PM.
“Not only this, the decision of Modi in proceeding to announce purchase of 36 Rafale ‘off-the-shelf’ on April 10, 2015, when an international tender was already under negotiation as also the subsequent cancellation of the international tender on 24th June 2015, is clearly violative of the DPP,” it said.
It said that against the originally negotiated price of the UPA deal, the Modi government’s purchase price “is over 300 per cent higher, involving an extra outflow of money from public exchequer of Rs 41,000 crore, approximately”.
Recently, the opposition party also held a series of press conferences on the issue, raising several questions on the deal made by the BJP led government at the centre with France to acquire the fighter jets.
However, the government has denied all the allegations.