Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday said he will request all members of the Public Accounts Committee to summon the attorney general as well as the comptroller and auditor general of India to inquire when the public auditor’s report on the Rafale fighter jet deal was tabled in Parliament, PTI reported.
His comments came a day after the Supreme Court refused to order a probe into the Rafale agreement with France, stating that the material on record did not show any favouritism. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had said that the Supreme Court judgement cited a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, which did not exist.
“I will request the PAC members to call the Attorney General and the Comptroller and Auditor General to ask them when was the CAG report on the Rafale deal tabled in Parliament,” Kharge, who heads the panel, said.
Kharge asked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government to apologise for misleading the Supreme Court and presenting wrong information before it. “When has the CAG discussed the PAC report, it has not been tabled so far,” he said. “Wrong information is being fed in the Supreme Court, it is a matter of shock.”
The Supreme Court had said the pricing details of the Rafale aircraft was provided to the CAG and this CAG report had been examined by the PAC and a redacted portion was placed before Parliament. Kharge said he had inquired with the office of the CAG and that the claim of such a report being examined by the Public Accounts Committee was “untrue”.
Kharge said that the Supreme Court cannot behave like a probe agency and the Congress would continue to demand an investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee into the Rafale deal.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal accused the Centre of submitting incorrect facts to the top court, ANI reported. “We have been very clear that Supreme Court was not an appropriate forum on which these issues can be decided, as it cannot summon and examine file notings, witnesses on oath, including questioning the prime minister, and we need to question the PM,” Sibal said.
Nationalist Congress President Sharad Pawar on Friday said it was incorrect on the government’s part to tell the Supreme Court that the Comptroller and Auditor General had scrutinised the information, ANI reported. “The Supreme Court judgement says the decision is based on the basis of information they got from the government,” he said. “The government told them that CAG has studied it and the Public Accounts Committee has also approved it, those things are not correct.”
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said Kharge should file an affidavit or a review petition in court saying that the PAC has neither received the report nor examined it, ANI reported.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said the Supreme Court was the ultimate authority on the matter, ANI reported. “We asked for Joint Parliamentary Committee inquiry when the Supreme Court was not in picture but now the top court’s judgement has come,” Yadav said. “The bench has pondered on every aspect, so if someone wants to question it in future they should go and knock Supreme Court’s door.”