CAG to Scrutinise Indo-French Rafale Jet Deal
India signed an agreement in 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.
The controversial Rafale fighter deal, which has been at the centre of a political slugfest, is now on the radar of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), reported The Indian Express.
A source in the national auditor told IE, “The Rafale deal has to be audited by the CAG. For us, it is a routine audit,” adding that the Rafale audit will be like any other high-value transaction audit, which is completed quickly and is always a priority.
The BJP-led government at the Centre and the Congress have been trading barbs over the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, a deal that was signed in September 2016 at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.
The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September 2019.
The Congress had raised several questions about the deal, including the price of the fighter jets, and accused the government of compromising national interest and security while also causing a loss to the public exchequer.
However, Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman maintained her stance on the deal, asserting that there was absolutely “no scandal” in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France and allegations of wrongdoings were “politically motivated.”
The Congress also demanded details of the deal, including cost of equipment and weapons, alleging that the deal negotiated under its rule was much cheaper than the contract signed by the Modi government.
The government has been refusing to give an item-wise cost and other details about the deal in Parliament citing confidentiality provisions of a 2008 Indo-France pact.
The UPA government had negotiated a US $10.2 billion deal for 126 jets. However, the deal could not be finalised.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and PTI)
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