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CAG likely to submit crucial report on Rafale deal to govt today


NEW DELHI, February 10: The much-awaited Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal is likely to be submitted to the government by the auditor on Monday for its tabling in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament which has its last scheduled sitting on Wednesday.
As per practice, once a CAG report is submitted, a copy sent to the President and one copy sent to the finance ministry, the government decides on the date and time of its tabling before Parliament, sometimes delayed by months. After tabling in Parliament, CAG reports are sent to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), headed by Opposition leader, for evaluation and further inquiries, if needed. At present Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge is the PAC chairman.
The federal auditor has conducted a thorough review of the Rafale deal, the process has taken more than a year, and has gone into its pricing, request for proposals received from competitors, if any, and comparative pricing of other fighter jets available globally.
The government to government Rafale deal was signed on September 23, 2016, for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter planes in fly away condition along with weaponry and maintenance contract. The CAG is also likely to look into 50% offset contract given to private parties in India by Dassault, the French maker of the aircraft.
Soon after the deal was signed, the NDA government had informed Parliament in response to a written question that each of the Rafale jets would cost the government approximately Rs 670 crore. The TOI had earlier reported that if the cost of weaponry and other equipment, including maintenance, is added, the price per jet would escalate to Rs 1,640 crore.
The Congress had demanded disclosures of the deal as it claimed that the negotiations by the previous UPA government had put the per aircraft cost at just Rs 526 crore. (TNN)