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60 ex-bureaucrats slam CAG over Rafale audit delay

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Nov 14, 2018, 12:46 am IST
Updated : Nov 14, 2018, 12:46 am IST

The former bureaucrats, including ex-DGP of Punjab Julio Ribeiro and former IAS officer-turned-social activist Aruna Roy.

Rafale fighter (Photo: File)
 Rafale fighter (Photo: File)

New Delhi: In a new twist to the Rafale jet controversy, 60 retired bureaucrats have written to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) expressing concern over delay in audit report on the French aircraft deal and accused the government auditor of deliberately going slow on the issue to save the NDA government from embarrassment ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The former bureaucrats, including ex-DGP of Punjab Julio Ribeiro and former IAS officer-turned-social activist Aruna Roy, also questioned the alleged delay in audit report on demonetisation.

In the letter, they wrote that there was concern over the “unconscionable” and “unwarranted delay” in bringing out the audit reports on the Rafale fighter jet deal and demonetisation, and the reports should be tabled before Parliament in the Winter Session. “An impression is gaining ground that the CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government. The CAG’s failure to present the audit reports in time may be seen as a partisan action and may create a crisis of credibility for this important institution,” they said. The letter claimed that there were reports that the audit of the Rafale deal would be done as late as September 2018, but the related files were yet to be scrutinised by the CAG. The precise stage of the audit is therefore “unclear”, it said. There was no immediate reaction from the CAG. The signatories of the letter included former Pune Police commissioner Meeran Borwankar, former CEO of Prasar Bharti Jawahar Sircar and former envoy to Italy K.P. Fabian. Quoting from media reports on demonetisation, the former bureaucrats said the then CAG Shashi Kant Sharma had pointed out that the audit would cover the expenditure on printing of notes, RBI’s dividend to the Consolidated Fund of India and the huge amount of data generated by banks.

The ex-bureaucrats said the CAG’s audit reports on the 2G, Coal, Adarsh, Commonwealth Games scams had influenced public perception of the then UPA government’s actions and had invited appreciation from various quarters.

Due to the cacophony of claims and counterclaims, accusations and mudslinging in the media and elsewhere, citizens do not know what the reality is, the former bureaucrats said, insisting that the CAG make timely submission of the audit reports so that people can make an informed choice while voting.

Tags: comptroller and auditor general (cag), nda government, retired bureaucrats