Former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on the Rafale deal was “useless” and claimed that the institution had allowed itself to become a joke, PTI reported.
“The CAG has meekly submitted to the unprecedented demand of the government and presented a report that contains no useful information or analysis or conclusions,” Chidambaram said in a press statement. “The CAG has failed the people of the country.”
The CAG report, which was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, said the deal signed in 2016 by the Narendra Modi government to buy 36 fighter jets from France was 2.86% cheaper than the offer made to the previous government in 2007. However, a dissent note written by three senior defence ministry officials said the deal signed by the Narendra Modi government was not “on better terms” compared to the offer negotiated by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
“The CAG is not god,” Chidambaram said, while rejecting the Bharatiya Janata Party’s argument that the national auditor’s should be the final word on the contentious deal.
“The CAG allowed itself to become a joke and an honourable government in future will restore the prestige and credibility of the institution,” he said. “If you thought those 33 pages [of the CAG report] will bring to light the hidden aspects of the deal and explain matters relating to numbers, pricing, delivery etcetera and comment on correctness and propriety of transaction, you will be disappointed,” he said.
Chidambaram said the CAG report does not provide answers on why the number of aircraft was reduced from 126 to 36, on the timeframe for delivery of aircraft, and why the anti-corruption clause in the deal was waived. Chidambaram then reiterated his party’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee inquiry.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday dismissed the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on the aircraft deal, while Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala called it an “eyewash”.
India and France signed a deal in 2016 for the delivery of 36 Rafale aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The Congress has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government of compromising “national interest” and “national security” in the purchase of the 36 jets. The party has said the final deal was overpriced, while the government has claimed it got a superior agreement.