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Mehrishi never dealt with defence ministry proposals: FinMin

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Amid allegations of conflict of interest in deal, the Ministry Monday said that Rajiv Mehrishi, who joined the ministry as Economic Affairs Secretary, has never dealt with expenditure proposals from the

The clarification comes in the backdrop of the alleging that the of India should recuse himself from the audit report of deal as he was the during the negotiation for the

Mehrishi joined as on October 31, 2014 and being the senior most among the five Secretaries he was designated as the Secretary on November 11, 2014, an official statement said.

He continued as Secretary (Economic Affairs) and till August 31, 2015 when he demitted the office.

"It is a matter of convention that the senior most Secretary is designated as Finance Secretary and while he assumes a co-ordination role, he continues as Secretary of his own Department," it said.

It is pertinent to point-out here that it is the Department of Expenditure, which deals with financial sanctions relating to all the ministries of the government and in that capacity, any files relating to defence procurement would be dealt with by the Secretary, and not by Mehrishi as Economic Affairs Secretary, the ministry added.

"To claim that Secretary (Economic Affairs) as Finance Secretary would have dealt with the expenditure proposals from the is totally a figment of imagination and stretch of facts," as per the statement.

The on Sunday alleged that the government compromised "national interest" and "national security" in the purchase of the 36 and said the CAG has a constitutional and statutory duty to undertake a of all defence contracts, including the deal.

"It is an act of gross impropriety for you to deal with the audit of the 36 Rafale deal on account of patent conflict of interest... You are constitutionally, legally and morally disentitled to either conduct an audit or to present a report before... Parliament. We urge upon you to recuse yourself and publicly accept the gross impropriety committed by you in initiating the audit...," the had said.

Soon after this, had in a series of tweets said after ten years in government, former UPA ministers still don't know that Finance Secretary is only a designation given to the senior most secretary in the

"Secretary (Economic affairs) has no role in expenditure files of the Defence ministry," he tweeted.

He termed the allegation made by the Congress on Mehrishi as another attack on the institution of CAG by the Institution wreckers' based on falsehood.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 21:35 IST