On a day a CAG report observed that the NDA government’s Rafale deal was cheaper than the UPA’s 2007 offer, the NCP on Wednesday questioned its “authenticity” and claimed a “conflict of interest” by referring to CAG Rajiv Mehrishi’s previous stint as Union finance secretary.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, which was submitted in Parliament earlier in the day, said the Rafale deal negotiated by the NDA government to procure 36 fighter jets was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the UPA’s 2007 offer.
It also said that the deal was 17.08 per cent cheaper with regard to India specific enhancements.
The BJP and Opposition have locked horns over the deal to purchase Rafale fighter aircraft from France.
The NCP, which is one of the parties to back the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal, said CAG Mehrishi was finance secretary when negotiations were underway to purchase the fighter jets.
“Mehrishi was part of Rafale negotiations, and he himself is CAG now. So, the question is the authenticity or truthfulness of the CAG report. The conflict of interest is there,” said NCP spokesperson Sanjay Tatkare.
He said the CAG report was silent on the actual cost of the deal.
“Why the cost appears 2.86 per cent lower is because they (the Centre) have waived the bank guarantee which was one of the components in the deal considered during the UPA’s tenure,” he said.