Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday hit back at the government by questioning the authenticity of the CAG report “cited by the Supreme Court” on the pricing of the aircraft. He asserted that no such report was referred to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC).
“The Supreme Court has based its report on the claim about a C&AG report on the pricing. Where has that report gone? The PAC too has not received any such report. Is it with some other PAC that PM Modi has set up in the PMO?” Gandhi asked at an AICC press conference.
The 29-page judgment said the report was shared with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), but Congress leader Mallikajun Kharge, who heads the PAC, said on Saturday he has not seen the report and accused the government of lying to the top court to get a clean chit.
“The government lied in the SC that the CAG report was presented in the House and before the PAC and the PAC has probed it. The government said in SC that it (the CAG report) is in public domain. Where is it? Have you seen it?” Kharge said while speaking to reporters on Saturday.
But the mention of the CAG report in the SC judgment has become a sore point. On Page 21, in Para 25 of the judgment, the bench states: “The material placed before us shows that the government has not disclosed pricing details, other than the basic price of the aircraft, even to Parliament, on the ground that sensitivity of pricing details could affect national security, apart from breaching the agreement between the two countries. 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. Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before Parliament, and is in public domain.”
“Will request all panel members to summon the AG and the CAG to ask them when the CAG report on Rafale deal was tabled in the Parliament,” Kharge said.
“When you feed wrong information in SC and get a clean chit on that then it is not right. We respect the SC but it is not a probe agency, only the JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee can investigate the Rafale deal. The government has not followed the proper procedure in court,” the Congress leader said.
Gandhi also reiterated that there was corruption in the Rafale deal making it clear that the Congress, backed by like-minded Opposition parties, will not relent on the demand for JPC probe.
Asked about it, finance minister Arun Jaitley, said: “I think whatever are the contents of the verdict in terms of the procedural details or the direction which has been given, that’s not a subject matter of our comment.” If something is required to be done in that regard, he said, “I think the lawyers will examine it and do the needful.”