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Govt Moves Supreme Court for Correction in Rafale Verdict to Blunt Oppn Offensive Over CAG Report

After the SC verdict on Friday, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who chairs the PAC, had said no such report had come to him.


Updated:December 16, 2018, 7:30 AM IST
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New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking correction in a paragraph in its judgment on Rafale fighter jet deal, in which a reference has been made about the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report and Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), saying "misrepresentation" of its note has resulted in a "controversy in public domain".

The application has been filed to clear misinterpretation on the issue of documents placed in a sealed cover before the court regarding the CAG and PAC, said a law officer.

The issue of CAG and PAC was mentioned in para 25 of the judgment of the top court which had held that there were no irregularities in the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from France.

The Centre made it clear that it did not say that the CAG report was examined by the PAC or a redacted portion was placed before Parliament. It clarified that the note had said the Government "has already shared" the price details with the CAG, which was written in past tense and "is factually correct".

The government moved the application a day after the opposition Congress and others raised questions on the issue and accused the government of misleading the apex court on CAG report.

The 29-page judgment said that the pricing details of the jets has been shared with the CAG, and the report of the CAG has been examined by the PAC. But Congress leader Mallikajun Kharge, who heads the PAC, said on Saturday he has not seen the report and accused the government of lying to the top court to get a clean chit.

“The government lied in the SC that the CAG report was presented in the House and before the PAC and the PAC has probed it. The government said in SC that it (the CAG report) is in public domain. Where is it? Have you seen it?” Kharge said while speaking to reporters on Saturday.

Kharge, striking a confrontational note, said he would ask the PAC to summon Attorney General KK Venugopal and CAG Rajiv Mehrishi and question them about when this report was tabled before the panel, and if not, why the submission was made before the top court.

“Will request all panel members to summon the AG and the CAG to ask them when the CAG report on Rafale deal was tabled in the Parliament,” Kharge 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 said.

Rahul Gandhi had on Friday asserted that no such report was given to the House panel headed by Kharge. "Where has that report gone? Is it with some other PAC that PM Modi has set up," he asked in a dig at the government.

Asked about it, finance minister Arun Jaitley, said: “I think whatever are the contents of the verdict in terms of the procedural details or the direction which has been given, that’s not a subject matter of our comment.” If something is required to be done in that regard, he said, “I think the lawyers will examine it and do the needful."

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