CONG WANTS CAG NOT TO SUB­MIT RAFALE AU­DIT

Party sees con­flict of in­ter­est as CAG Mehrishi was the Fi­nance Sec­re­tary when the deal was struck; de­fend­ing the CAG, Arun Jait­ley says De­fence Min­istry files are dealt with by Sec­re­tary (Ex­pen­di­ture)

The Free Press Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

Rais­ing the deci­bel level a day be­fore sub­mis­sion of the au­dit re­port on Rafale, the Con­gress party, al­leg­ing con­flict of in­ter­est, ac­cused Comp­trol­ler and Au­di­tor Gen­eral Ra­jiv Mehrishi of com­mit­ting a "gross im­pro­pri­ety" by au­dit­ing the deal, say­ing that as the Fi­nance Sec­re­tary he was in­volved in the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

CAG Mehrishi was the Fi­nance Sec­re­tary when the deal was struck.

The Con­gress also is­sued a warn­ing to all govern­ment of­fi­cials that they are be­ing watched for their ex­ces­sive "loy­alty" to­wards PM Modi. Ad­dress­ing the me­dia, Con­gress leader Kapil Sibal said, "Of­fi­cials should know that elec­tions come and go, some­times we are in Op­po­si­tion and some­times we are the rul­ing party. We will keep an eye on all govern­ment of­fi­cials who are over en­thu­si­as­tic and are try­ing to show loy­alty to the PM. They should re­mem­ber that Con­sti­tu­tion is big­ger than any­thing."

The mem­o­ran­dum to CAG Me­har­ishi says, "You were the Fi­nance Sec­re­tary from Oc­to­ber 29, 2014, to Au­gust 30, 2015, in­clud­ing at the time of uni­lat­eral an­nounce­ment for pur­chase of 36 Rafale air­craft. Even at the time of can­cel­la­tion of the 126 air­craft MMRCA deal you were the Fi­nance Sec­re­tary.

"Con­se­quently, you were di­rectly in­volved in the Rafale deal on both these oc­ca­sions as the Fi­nance Sec­re­tary. Not only this, you were also in­volved in ne­go­ti­a­tions of the deal as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Fi­nance Min­istry," the Con­gress said in the mem­o­ran­dum.

It has fur­ther ac­cused Me­har­ishi of be­ing "com­plicit in the ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties" in the deal.

"There is no rea­son or oc­ca­sion for you to au­dit the 36 Rafale air­craft deal as you can nei­ther be a judge in your own cause (case), nor can you sit in au­dit over your own ac­tions, to which you were a party.

"This con­duct points to a di­rect con­flict of in­ter­est, mak­ing you a judge in your own cause (case) and ren­der­ing you in­el­i­gi­ble to con­duct any au­dit on the Rafale deal as CAG," the party said.

Ad­dress­ing the me­dia, Sibal said the CAG re­port was yet another at­tempt of the Modi govern­ment to cover up the "Rafale scam".

"The CAG, in his re­port, likely to be sub­mit­ted on Mon­day, will not only de­fend his ac­tion in the deal as then Fi­nance Sec­re­tary but also do a coverup for the govern­ment. De­spite all the ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties hap­pen­ing be­fore his eyes, the CAG will only come out de­fend­ing the govern­ment and say­ing there is no cor­rup­tion in the deal," said Sibal.

"Be­ing legally not en­ti­tled to au­dit the deal, the CAG should re­cuse and re­frain from sub­mit­ting a re­port on the deal," said Sibal. The Con­gress has re­peat­edly de­manded a probe by a Joint Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee (JPC) in to the "coun­try's big­gest de­fence scam".

Of­fi­cials should know that elec­tions come and go, some­times we are in op­po­si­tion and some­times we are the rul­ing party. We will keep an eye on of­fi­cials who are over en­thu­si­as­tic and try­ing to show loy­alty to Prime Min­is­ter. They should re­mem­ber that the Con­sti­tu­tion is big­ger than any­thing

– Con­gress leader Kapil Sibal

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