The Comptroller and Auditor General has refused to disclose details of its audit into the Rafale jet deal with France, PTI reported on Tuesday, quoting a Right To Information reply. Since the process is still incomplete, any disclosure at this stage will amount to a breach of Parliament’s privilege, the auditor added.
The Right To Information query was filed by Pune-based activist Vihar Durve.
“The audit is under progress and the report is yet to be finalised,” said the auditor. “The information cannot be given under Section 8(1)(C) of the Right To Information Act as the disclosure would cause breach of Parliament.”
Section 8(1)(C) of the RTI Act exempts the disclosure of information that may lead to a breach of privilege of Parliament or the state legislature.
The auditor also refused to share its correspondence with government departments and political parties on the matter. It claimed that such information was “confidential and held in fiduciary capacity” and was exempt from disclosure under the RTI Act.
The CAG said audits in the Indian Air Force are conducted by a designated principal audit officer of the force and those reports are submitted to the national auditor for approval.
The Supreme Court on December 14 rejected all petitions seeking an inquiry into the defence deal, saying it was satisfied with the procurement process. It also dismissed petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the agreement.
“The pricing details have, however, been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General, and the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee,” a bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had said. “Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament and is in public domain.”
Later, the Centre clarified that its note on the CAG report had said that the government “has already shared” the price details with the CAG, which was written in past tense and “is factually correct”.