Rafale verdict: Congress said the PAC has not seen the CAG report on Rafale pricing
New Delhi: A big political storm is brewing over the Supreme Court's verdict on the Rafale fighter jet deal. The Congress says the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has not seen the report by the government's auditor or Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the pricing of the 36 Rafale jets to be purchased from France's Dassault Aviation, which was referred to by the Supreme Court on Friday when it ruled that there was no reason to doubt the process that the government followed to buy the Rafale jets. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the Public Accounts Committee chairman, today said he will request all members of the panel to summon the Attorney General and the CAG to ask them when was the auditor's report tabled in parliament.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
- Mr Kharge accused the government of "misleading" the Supreme Court by presenting incorrect facts about the CAG report on the Rafale deal and demanded that the government should apologise for it. "The government lied in the Supreme Court that the CAG report was presented in the house and in the PAC, and PAC has probed it. The government said in the Supreme Court that it (the report) is in public domain. Where is it? Have you seen it?" he said.
- The senior Congress leader also said his party respects the Supreme Court, but it is not a probe agency and only a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) can investigate the alleged corruption in the Rafale deal. "I will request the PAC members to call the Attorney General (AG) and the Comptroller and Auditor General to ask them when was the CAG report on the Rafale deal tabled in parliament," he told reporters.
- Yesterday, hours after the top court verdict, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also raised questions about the CAG report. "The basic foundation of the Supreme Court judgement is the CAG report. PAC chairman has not seen the CAG report. Yet the court has seen it. Where is the CAG report? Show us? Maybe it was shown to the France parliament? Maybe PM Modi has his own PAC in PMO (Prime Minister's office)... since he has destroyed every institution," he said.
- NCP chief Sharad Pawar too hit out at the government, saying "The decision of the Supreme Court was based on the information and documents sent by the government. Neither the CAG has studied nor has the PAC discussed the report."
- The ruling BJP has demanded Rahul Gandhi's apology after the verdict. "Disrupters have lost on all counts and those who manufactured falsehood compromised the security of the country," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, and rejected the Congress's demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the deal.
- Several petitions had alleged that the government had gone for an overpriced deal to help Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence bag an offset contract with Dassault Aviation. The court rejected all the petitions. "There is no evidence of commercial favouritism to any private entity," the court said.
- The Congress has also demanded that the pricing details of the planes be made public - a demand the government has rejected citing a secrecy clause in the deal, triggering a huge political battle.
- Anil Ambani issued a statement saying the ruling "conclusively established the complete falsity of wild, baseless and politically motivated allegations".
- "Dassault Aviation welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court of India dismissing all petitions filed on the Rafale contract signed on September 23, 2016," the plane-maker said in a statement on Friday.
- The petitions were filed initially by two advocates, Manohar Lal Sharma and Vineet Dhanda. Later, Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker Sanjay Singh filed one. Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan also filed a joint petition in the top court.
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