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With the CAG report on the table, the Rafale controversy is set to linger

PW Bureau

Although the report was a mixed result for both the government and opposition, it gave them enough fuel to make sure the controversy surrounding the fighter jets will not abate anytime shortly New Delhi: In the middle of a fresh wave of allegations over the Rafale deal, the much-awaited Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the matter was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Although the report was a mixed result for both the government and the Opposition, it gave them enough fuel to make sure the controversy surrounding the fighter jets will not abate anytime shortly.

Deal 2.86% cheaper under NDA

The report says that under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the 7.87-billion euros deal for 36 jets was 2.86 percent cheaper than the price that was being negotiated by the UPA in 2012. However, the figures drop well short of expectations that top ministers have publically claimed in recent months. The report was submitted on the last day of the Parliament session.

Price should have been lower

The CAG, in its report, also stated that money saved by doing away with banking and performance guarantees has not been factored in as the benefits of these would be accrued by Dassault Aviation. But the price that the Indian side finally agreed to should have been even lower as the banking charges had been waived off, the CAG essentially said.

Little credit for government on fast delivery

For shaving off only one month in the delivery time for the aircrafts that were bought for urgent requirements, the CAG gives the government little praise in the matter of faster delivery. To determine a better price, the government could have used comparative pricing from the unsolicited offer by Eurofighter, the auditor said.

Rafale deal compared with Eurofighter

Additionally, the CAG report on the controversial Rafale deal may have presented a comparison of the French fighter’s cost with offers made by Eurofighter Typhoon jet, a competitor made by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS). The auditor’s report looks at 11 acquisitions by the Indian Air Force (IAF), devoting about 32 pages to the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal. However, the CAG redacted the pricing in case of the evaluation of the Rafale deal, while instead of going into percentage terms and comparing it with the only competitor.