A day after the Supreme Court’s decision in the Rafale fighter jet deal case, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of lying in the apex court.
Kharge, who is the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said that he has not seen the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report which was cited by the SC while delivering the judgement.
In its 29-page judgement the apex court cited the government’s submission that the CAG was submitted before the PAC.
“Government lied in SC that the CAG report was presented in the house and in PAC and PAC has probed it. Government said in SC it is in public domain. Where is it? Have you seen it?” Kharge said on Saturday.
The Congress leader added that the PAC will now summon the Attorney General and the CAG.
“I am going to take this up with other members of PAC. We will summon AG and CAG,” he said.
“When you feed wrong information in SC and get a clean chit on that then it is not right. We respect the SC but it is not a probe agency, only the JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee can investigate the Rafale deal. The government has not followed the proper procedure in court,” the Congress leader reportedly said.
He also demanded an apology from the Modi government for “misleading” the apex court.
At a press conference with Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday, Kharge had raised many questions.
“I asked the Deputy CAG today how it happened. Did someone forge my signatures? If the report is not with CAG, it cannot be with PAC. PAC presents its report to Parliament which I have not done. And it comes into public domain through Parliament,. How did it come, who gave it? The rules say that till the report is presented in Parliament, no one can speak on it,” Kharge said.
“How did it happen. It is really surprising. PAC has been dragged into it,” he added.
On Saturday, NCP president Sharad Pawar backed Kharge on the matter.
“The SC judgement says the decision is based on the basis of info they got from Government. The Government told them that CAG has studied it and Public Accounts Committee has also approved – those things are not correct,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said that Kharge should file a review petition in court.
“PAC chairman Mallikarjun Kharge saying he has not got CAG report then we have to take his word. He should file affidavit or review petition in court saying I did not receive and the committee has not examined it,” Swamy was quoted as saying by ANI.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had on Friday dismissed all the petitions seeking probe into the deal. The CJI had said the court studied the materials carefully and interacted with defence officials, and was “satisfied” with the NDA government’s decision making process.
In its judgement, the SC said, “The material placed before us shows that the Government has not disclosed pricing details, other than the basic price of the aircraft, even to the Parliament, on the ground that sensitivity of pricing details could affect national security, apart from breaching the agreement between the two countries. The pricing details have, however, been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General (hereinafter referred to as “CAG”), and the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (hereafter referred to as “PAC”). Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before the Parliament, and is in public domain.”