CAG report on Rafale deal LIVE Updates: Modi government to table report in Lok Sabha today
By Ganesh Sivaraman on February 12, 2019
Rafale deal CAG report: The Modi government is likely to table the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on Rafale jet fighter deal in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, a day before the first part of the Budget Session culminates. This is the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha ahead of the general elections. The Lok Sabha polls are due in April-May.
The report on the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault was submitted by CAG Rajiv Mehrishi to President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday.
The Rafale deal between India and France has generated a massive political controversy just ahead of the general elections. Both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress have been attacking each other. While the main opposition Congress has been leveling allegations of corruption and impropriety, the ruling dispensation has been defending the move and accusing the Congress of weakening the defence forces.
The Modi government and Congress are involved in a slug fest over the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. While the Congress has been alleging scam in the deal with its president Rahul Gandhi claiming PM Narendra Modi brokered the deal to benefit Anil Ambani, the BJP has rubbished all such accusations. Recently, Rahul Gandhi cited a news report to claim that the PMO ran a parallel negotiation with the French government in 2015. He said PM Modi was directly involved in the deal with France as he was running a parallel negotiation. On the hand, the Modi government has rejects all charges. In the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rubbished the media report and hit out at the Congress over its attack on the government. The minister said that Congress is flogging a dead horse to keep the issue alive. As far as the purchase of Rafale fighter jets are concerned, the process of buying 126 fighter jets began in June 2001 when late BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee was heading a coalition government. Under the original proposal, 18 fighter jets were to be procured in a fly-away condition and the remaining 108 aircraft were to be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The bidding process had started in August 2007 when Manmohan Singh was heading the Congress-led UPA government. The negotiations went on until 2014, when the BJP dethroned Congress. In April 2015, the Modi government announced its decision to sign USD 8.7 billion government-to-government deal with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets. The agreement between the two sides was, however, signed in 2016. The new deal replaced previous decision to buy 126 Rafale aircraft.