Rafale row: Congress corners Centre over Jaitley’s CAG remark

New Delhi: A day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report will not lead to the cancellation of the Rafale deal, the Congress party on Monday called the statement “highly objectionable”.

Addressing the media, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “FM Jaitley yesterday said that CAG will look at the price and decide whether it is better or worse than NDA deal, but will not lead to cancellation. This is a highly objectionable statement. It reflects his approach as if CAG is part of his Ministry, which is not true. A constitutional authority is being directed about what to do and what not to do. Isn’t it like declaring the outcome even before the enquiry?”

Mounting another attack on the central government for allegedly favouring Reliance for the pact, Singhvi said, “Why will Dassault search with a candlelight one corporate which is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy? There is no answer for this? We demand answers.”

Alleging several other irregularities in the deal, he said, “On 25 March 2015, Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault said that negotiations with HAL are at an advanced stage, the signature stage will come very soon. On 8th April 2015, two days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in France, Foreign Secretary of India clearly suggested that Rafale is not on the negotiation. Interestingly on 10th April 2015, the Prime Minister announced the new deal. No Defence Procurement Procedure was followed.”

He also termed BJP leaders’ allegation of a collusion between Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Ex-French President Francois Hollande as an “act of desperation”.

“France is a country which has been very supportive to India. All that to one side, but for scoring superficial points high functionaries of BJP government say there is collusion. It makes our mind boggle at the degree of desperation. Ex-French President Francois Hollande confirmed that their government had no choice in selecting offset partner. Our allegations are correct. No real answer to Hollande’s statement has come except obfuscation. It is virtually an act of desperation of BJP. It shows a ridiculous level of contempt for the intelligence of the Indian people and BJP insults that intelligence,” the Congress leader stated.

Singhvi also informed that in their meeting with Central Vigilance Commissioner earlier today, they have demanded that all documents related to this deal must be confiscated and the process must be stopped until an enquiry.