17:05 GMT05 August 2021
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    India’s apex auditor body has started the scrutiny of a Rafale fighter jet deal worth 7.87 billion Euros amid allegations of financial misappropriation to the tune of $5.5 billion.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): India's Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) is conducting an audit of the government to government contract between India and France inked in September 2016 for the purchase of 36 Rafale Fighter Jets, according to Subhash Bhamre, India's Minister of State for Defense.  

    "Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) is conducting the audit of the Capital Acquisition System of Indian Air Force, including the Rafale aircraft," Bhamre told the Parliament on Wednesday.

    READ MORE: Modi Government Faces Opposition’s Ire on Rafale Deal in Parliament

    For the last eight months, India's main opposition party, the Indian National Congress (INC), has been targeting the Narendra Modi-led government over the alleged misappropriation in the deal.

    Rahul Gandhi, president of the INC, has claimed that the previous government led by his party under the leadership of Manmohan Singh had finalized the price of the same fighter aircraft (numbering 126) with France's Dassault Aviation at $87 million per unit.

    The proposed contract for 126 Rafale fighters was later abandoned by the Narendra Modi government only to initiate a fresh deal with the French government for 36 fighter aircraft. Rahul Gandhi has alleged that the Modi government has pocketed at least 10% of the country's defense budget by signing the fresh deal at an inflated price. 

    READ MORE: Air Force Veteran Suggests India Should Go for More Russian Su-30MKI/Su-35

    However, the Narendra Modi government has maintained from the beginning of the deal that the previous administration led by Manmohan Singh was not able to conclude the deal. The Ministry of Defense in a written statement had said in February of this year that the allegations leveled by the opposition "would normally not have merited a response but for the serious damage being caused on a serious matter of national security."


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    France, India, Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Subhash Bhamre, Indian Air Force, Indian Defense Ministry, Dassault Aviation, Defense Procurement, refusal, audit, corruption charges
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