Congress meets CAG again on Rafale deal

Congress meets CAG again on Rafale deal

Ex-BJP leaders Shourie, Yashwant move CBI

Former Union minister Arun Shourie addresses the media as advocate Prashant Bhushan looks on, after meeting CBI Director Alok Verma in relation to Rafale Deal at the CBI Headquarters in New Delhi on Thursday.

Upping the ante on the Modi government over the Rafale deal, the Congress on Thursday met the CAG to submit fresh evidence in the reported scam even as BJP renegades Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha approached the CBI with a complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for abuse of authority in finalising the fighter jet contract.

Sinha and Shourie along with senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan met CBI Director Alok Verma seeking action against Modi and the then defence minister Manohar Parrikar under the "abuse of authority" clause of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“Anil Ambani’s companies have been verging at the point of insolvency. …In these circumstances, a conspiracy was hatched by the two of them (Modi and Anil Ambani), by way of which, Modi obtained an 'undue advantage' from Dassault Aviation, for awarding a contract for 36 Rafale aircraft in 'fly-away' condition, by abusing the authority of his office and doing his public duty dishonestly and improperly," the trio said in the complaint submitted to the CBI.

They urged the CBI director to seek permission from the government to initiate a probe in accordance with the law.

"The CBI director said he will look into it very carefully. We will take appropriate action,” Bhushan told reporters while emerging out of the CBI headquarters.

Separately, Congress leaders including Ahmed Patel, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, Randeep Surjewala met Comptroller and Auditor General Rajiv Mehrishi to draw his attention to additional developments and revelations since they last met him on September 19.

In a memorandum to the CAG, the Congress leaders drew his attention to remarks of the then French president Francois Hollande on the selection of Reliance Defence as the offset partner in the Rafale deal.

The Congress leaders also drew attention of the CAG to reports of a "dissent note" by a Joint Secretary (Air) flagging the high price of the Rafale jets, and the statement of former HAL CMD T Suvarna Raju questioning Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman doubting the capabilities of the defence PSU in manufacturing the fighter aircraft.

"These are the important developments which we expect the CAG to take note of," senior Congres leader Anand Sharma said.

"We, therefore, request the CAG to bring all facts on record to enable the Parliament to fix accountability for the Rafale scam,” the Congress memorandum said.

In their complaint to the CBI, Shourie, Sinha and Bhushan quoted a meeting between Modi and Ambani on March 3, 2015, after which, the industrialist had reportedly said that the prime minister had urged him to enter the defence sector.

"It is most unusual that the prime minister talked to Ambani about the sensitive defence sector given that Ambani at the time was being investigated by the CBI for corruption in the 2G scam, wherein public servants were bribed,” the trio said.