(AP)
(AP)

Rafale deal in Parliament today? But Lok Sabha business list doesn't mention it

  • The last session of the Lok Sabha ends on Wednesday before the general elections in April-May
  • The ruling party could still throw a surprise and choose to table the report only on Wednesday

New Delhi: The government is expected to table the Comptroller and Auditor’s (CAG's) findings on the Indian Air Force’s purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault Aviation in Parliament today. The last session of the Lok Sabha ends on Wednesday before the general elections in April-May.

But the ruling party could still throw a surprise and choose to table the report only on Wednesday. The Lok Sabha's revised list of business for Tuesday, posted on its website, has no mention of the CAG report, but a last-minute amendment to the list of business can never be ruled out.

The Opposition has charged the Prime Minister’s Office of holding parallel negotiations with the French government over the purchase of the aircraft even as the defence ministry, the designated authority, was holding talks with the manufacturer.

Parties have also questioned the impartiality of the current CAG, Rajiv Mehrshi, in the audit, since he was secretary, department of economic affairs, when the deal was signed. A press release issued by the finance ministry on Monday said it was the secretary in the department of expenditure, which dealt with financial sanctions relating to the ministries of the government and not the secretary in the department of economic affairs.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal wanted Mehrishi to recuse himself from the report. Finance minister Arun Jaitley rubbished the argument on Sunday, saying that Mehrishi had no role in the negotiations.

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