Rafale Row: What will be CAG’s response to PAC chairman Kharge?

(UNI) All eyes will be on the response from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Rajiv Mehrishi to the ‘clarification’ reportedly sought by Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Mallikarjun Kharge on the Rafale combat aircraft row.

According to BJP sources here, the CAG is on “tour” these days and will be back in the capital only on Wednesday, December 19.

Sources said Mr Kharge in the capacity of chairman PAC has written to the CAG seeking ‘clarification’ as to whether the government’s official auditor has examined the Rafale related papers of the Defence ministry.

“If so, the CAG has been advised to mention some details, like dates or so and also about their findings. The CAG reportedly has been asked to clarify whether the CAG has recommended to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to examine the Rafale related papers,” sources said.

Mr Kharge in the capacity of 22-member PAC chairman is not likely to press for ‘summoning’ CAG Mr Mehrishi and the Attorney General K K Venugopal if there is “no unanimity” in the committee.

Sources said earlier as the panel chairman, Mr Kharge has applied his ‘suo motu’ discretionary power and did initiate the deliberations on Non Performing Assets (NPAs) in banks. “But this time around given the sensibilities of the case especially in view of the Supreme Court orders, he may not press for the same,” a source said.

Mr Kharge’s predecessor K V Thomas also initiated actions suo motu on two occasions – the Public Private Partnership issue with certain projects and the demonetisation of high value currencies.