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CAG report on Rafale to be tabled in Parliament

PW Bureau

Report on the deal to acquire 36 Rafale jets is close to competition after the defence ministry received replies on its observations

New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India is expected to submit a vital report on the contract to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jet in the coming days, while a redacted version is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the forthcoming interim budget session. The report on the 7.87 billion euro deal signed in 2016 is close to competition after the defence ministry received replies on its observations, sources said.

Clean chit by CAG could give impetus to BJP

Although the report’s contents are not known yet, exoneration by the auditor would give impetus to the ruling BJP government, with the Rafale being made a primary electoral point by opposition Congress ahead of this year’s General election. In its report, the auditor has gone into details of the deal, including the controversial pricing issue raised by the opposition. Sources say the report could be combined with other defence acquisitions as well.

The report could be tabled before the Supreme Court rules on a correction plea that the Centre has filed on the dismissal of public interest litigation (PIL) that hoped for a detailed examination of the deal.

While the order had said CAG has investigated the matter, with a redacted portion of the report being tabled before Parliament, the government has asked the SC to change the sentence to reflect that at the time of judgment.

The opposition has attacked the government over the Rafale deal, raising its issues with pricing, along with offsets for the contract to Reliance Defence.