Defence ministry official raised objection in 36-Rafale deal

Narendra Modi government had went ahead with deal for 36 Rafale aircraft ignoring objection raised by one of key official at Defence ministry. The objection was raised about a month before the deal was signed between then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart in New Delhi in September 2016.

The senior officer of the Ministry of Defence, who had been part of the Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC), raised questions about the deal’s benchmark price and put his objections on record. This officer was then Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Air) in the MoD and the one meant to initiate the note for the Cabinet’s approval.

According to a report by  The Indian Express , his objections had delayed the Cabinet note approving the deal and its signing which only happened after his objections were “overruled” by another senior MoD official, Director General (Acquisition).

The note by the JS & AM (Air), as part of the Rafale deal file, is currently with the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) who is studying the deal which has set off a political controversy.

Sources said the CAG is likely to submit its report by the winter session of Parliament in December. The CAG report, sources said, is likely to refer to the note containing objections to the Rafale deal and will also mention how these objections were over-ruled.

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