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Rafale row: Govt rejects 'conflict of interest' charge against CAG Mehrishi

IANS/New Delhi 12 Feb 19 | 12:10 AM

File photo: Rajiv Mehrishi

The Central government on Monday rejected allegation of "conflict of interest" levied by the Congress party against CAG Rajiv Mehrishi over the audit agency's proposed report on the Rafale deal, saying he never dealt with expenditure proposals from the Ministry of Defence as Finance Secretary.

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The development comes a day after the Congress party accused Mehrishi of committing "gross impropriety" by auditing the Rafale deal, saying as the Finance Secretary he was involved in the deal announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015.

The CAG report is likely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Mehrishi had joined the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance as Secretary in October 2014.

As the senior-most Secretary among the five secretaries of the Ministry that time, he was designated as the Finance Secretary on November 11, 2014. He continued as Secretary (Economic Affairs) and Finance Secretary till August 2015 when he demitted office.

In a statement on Monday evening, the Ministry said: "Secretary (Economic Affairs) as Finance Secretary doesn't deal with expenditure proposals from the Ministry of Defence; rather it is Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, which deals with financial sanctions relating to all the ministries of the government of India."

"To claim that Secretary (Economic Affairs) as Finance Secretary would have dealt with the expenditure proposals from the Ministry of Defence is totally a figment of imagination and stretch of facts."

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