Rafale deal: Sinha asks for forensic audit to bring out truth

Bengaluru: Former union minister Yashwant Sinha said instead of a joint parliamentary committee being constituted, CAG should conduct forensic audit to bring out the “criminal negligence or intent” in the Rafale deal.

“I had suggested that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) should do a forensic audit, to bring out the criminal negligence or intent (of the central government). I am emphasizing this point because Congress wants joint parliamentary committee. At this stage such a committee is neither here nor there,” he told reporters here.

A forensic audit is an examination and evaluation of a firm’s or an individual’s financial information for use as evidence in court.

It can be conducted in order to prosecute a party for fraud, embezzlement or other financial claims. Giving reasons against forming JPC, Sinha said it would not serve its purpose of bringing out the “wrongs” in Rafale deal because of paucity of time.

“The next parliament session will be held in November and JPC has to be approved by both Houses. The resolution can be passed only in November and after that the Lok Sabha’s life will be a few months. So, it would not be able to finish its task,” he said.

Sinha alleged there was a huge scam in the deal running into Rs 1,000 crore, and hence the government is reluctant to reveal anything on this front. Sinha, a critic of the NDA government, alleged that the BJP government reduced ‘Make In India’ slogan into a mere slogan by not giving ‘offset obligation’ to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Earlier yesterday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused Congress of “peddling untruth” on the Rafale aircraft deal, saying the “false campaign” by the opposition party and its leader Rahul Gandhi was seriously compromising national security.

Gandhi responded by calling the deal “the Great Rafale Robbery” and alluded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi trying to protect his business friend.

Jaitley replied to this by stating that a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the Bofors deal had called kickbacks “winding up” charges, and the whole world rejected the findings.

Congress has repeatedly alleged a “scam” in the purchase of Rafale fighter jets, claiming the cost per aircraft in 2012 was agreed at Rs 526.10 crore while the one signed by the Modi government costs Euro 7.5 billion (Rs 1,670.70 crore per aircraft).