A day before the CAG report on the 2015 Rafale jet deal is likely to be tabled in Parliament, the Congress on Monday said that if the "overt acts of malfeasance" in the contract are ignored by the report, then it will "not be worth" the paper it is written on.
The opposition party's statement came after a report in The Hindu claimed the Rafale deal between India and France involved "major and unprecedented" concessions from the Indian government. It reported that critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account were dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA).
An escrow account is a provision under which the amount to be paid in a deal is held by a third-party in that account, on behalf of the transacting parties.
"Never ever in any past transactions in the last three decades, has the govt dropped such mandatory clauses from a procurement contract. One thing is emerging clearly which requires investigation, which requires a joint parliamentary committee, that somebody has paid somebody in the fighter Rafale procurement," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said at a press conference.
"We would again like to emphasise that if these very overt acts of malfeasance, if they can be documented by a newspaper...and if the Comptroller and Auditor General report ignores it because we believe that the CAG report is being tabled tomorrow, then that report will not be worth the paper it is written on," Tewari said.
Former minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday had alleged conflict of interest and asked CAG Rajiv Mehrishi to recuse himself from auditing the deal as he was the finance secretary when the deal was negotiated.
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