Rafale deal: CAG refuses to disclose details about ongoing audit, cites breach of parliamentary privilege

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Updated: January 16, 2019 2:22:06 PM

Rafale deal: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has refused to disclose the details about its audit in the deal.

Rafale deal: The CAG said that the audit is under process and any disclosure at this stage will amount to breach of the Parliament’s privilege.

Rafale deal: A month after the Supreme Court dismissed pleas challenging the deal between India and France for the procurement of 36 Rafale jets, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has denied disclosing the details about its audit in the Rafale deal. The CAG said that the audit is under process and any disclosure at this stage will amount to breach of the Parliament’s privilege.

The CAG was responding to an RTI application from a Pune-based activist Vihar Durve. “The audit is under progress and the report is yet to be finalised. The information cannot be given under Section 8(1)(C) of the RTI Act as the disclosure would cause breach of Parliament,” it said.

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The country’s auditor also refused to share any records related to the Rafale deal audit process with any political party or government department and claimed that such records were “confidential and held in fiduciary capacity” hence, exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act. It added that the audit in the Indian Air Force is done by designated principal audit officer of the force and the reports are submitted to the national auditor for approval.

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The Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre had approached the Supreme Court seeking changes in the judgment after Congress insisted that no such CAG report had been placed before the Public Accounts Committee. In the application, the Centre has said the two sentences in paragraph 25 of the Supreme Court’s verdict on Rafale deal appeared to have been based on the note submitted by it along with the pricing details in a sealed cover, but indicated the words used by the court lent a different meaning.

The Centre clarified that the note had said the government has already shared the price details with the CAG.

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