Congress raises heat on Rafale deal, urges CAG to carry out forensic audit

Topics Rafale

The Congress on Thursday urged the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to carry out a forensic audit of the “Rs 600-billion” Rafale fighter jet deal and bring all “facts” on record to enable Parliament to fix accountability for the alleged scam.

Lawyer and Swaraj India leader Prashant Bhushan and former Union minister Arun Shourie met Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma to demand a probe into alleged corruption in the Rafale aircraft deal and offset contract.

A delegation of Congress leaders met CAG Rajiv Mehrishi — this was the second time within a month — and presented a memorandum to him along with fresh documents.

Along with a “detailed” complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Bhushan and Shourie also submitted documents to the CBI chief to support their arguments for the need of probe. “The CBI director said he will look into it very carefully. We will take appropriate action,” Bhushan said.

The Congress had met the CAG on September 19 and thereafter the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) on September 24 for a probe into the deal.

“The Rafale scam has now emerged as India’s biggest ‘defence scam’. Skeletons are tumbling out of the closet everyday with repeated disclosures getting zero answers from the defence ministry. In fact, the only ‘truth’ of this government is ‘subterfuge’. The stench of ‘corruption’ and ‘cronyism’ in the Rafale deal is nauseating, requiring urgent intervention,” the Congress memorandum said.

The party also alleged that the government is “unforgivably guilty” of causing loss to the public exchequer worth Rs 410 billion in the purchase of 36 ‘Made in France’ Rafale aircrafts, “off the shelf” without “transfer of technology”.

It also alleged that in a classic case of blatant “crony capitalism”, private entity Reliance Defence was deliberately enriched by award of a Rs 300-billion offset contract at the cost of public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.

The party told the CAG that all the contours of conspiracy, corruption, endangering of national security and crony capitalism can only be uncovered thorough a probe by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC). The government had said it did not think a JPC or a CAG audit is set up to satisfy the “ego of an ill-informed leader” who repeats lies with alarming regularity, in an apparent dig at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

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