He told news agency ANI: “Some notes being selectively picked up to prove a point. Fact is none of them are linked to Indian negotiating team. Indian negotiating team has forwarded its final report signed by all 7 members without dissent.”

Air Marshal SBP Sinha, who headed the Rafale negotiations from the Indian side took serious umbrage with the reportage and criticism about the negotiations.

He told news agency ANI: “Some notes being selectively picked up to prove a point. Fact is none of them are linked to Indian negotiating team. Indian negotiating team has forwarded its final report signed by all 7 members without dissent.”

Earlier, Air Marshall SBP Sinha, who led the negotiations called the ‘article an attempt to malign the negotiation' that happened for the procurement of the 36 Rafale jets’. He said that the note was internal matter and had nothing to do with the Indian negotiation team that he headed.

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Issue

At a time when the Narendra Modi government is under attack over the Rafale deal, it is emerging that the policy for signing inter-governmental agreements without "classically" following the Standard Operating Procedure or Standard Contract Document was laid down by the previous Congress-led UPA government in 2013.

The Indian negotiating team, which firmed up the deal for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft from French company Dassault through an inter-governmental agreement, followed that policy of the UPA government, top official sources said here on Monday.

In 2013, the UPA government came up with a new policy which allows the Defence Ministry to not follow the laid down rules and sign inter-governmental agreements with friendly foreign countries as per mutually agreed provisions between both sides.

"There may be occasions when procurement would have to be done from friendly foreign countries which may be necessitated due to Geo-Strategic advantages that are likely to accrue to our country. Such procurement would not classically follow the Standard Procurement Procedure and the Standard Contract Document but would be based on mutually agreed provisions by the Governments of both the countries. Such procurement will be done based on an Inter-Governmental Agreement after clearance from CFA (Competent Financial Authority)," the para 71 of the Defence Procurement Procedure, 2013 clarifies.

1. Govt To Table CAG Report

The government is scheduled to table the CAG report on Rafale jet fighter deal, which has generated a massive political controversy, in Parliament Tuesday, sources said.

The government's decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault has become a controversial political issue, with the main opposition party Congress levelling allegations of corruption and impropriety, and the ruling dispensation defending the move.

The CAG report will be tabled on Tuesday, a day before the end of the present Lok Sabha session. This is the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha as the general elections are due in April-May.

2. Sibal Claims ‘Conflict of Interest’

Former minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday alleged conflict of interest and asked the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi to recuse himself from auditing the deal as he was the finance secretary when the deal was negotiated.

3. FM'sRebuttal

Union Minister Arun Jaitley, however, rebutted the claims of Sibal saying that the Congress was casting aspersions on the institution of CAG based on "falsehood".

"Another attack on the institution of CAG by the 'Institution wreckers' based on falsehood. After ten years in Government former UPA ministers still don't know that Finance Secretary is only a designation given to the senior most secretary in the finance ministry," Jaitley said a series of tweets Sunday.

Sibal said Mehrishi was the finance secretary from October 24, 2014 to August 30, 2015 and in between Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Paris on April 10, 2015 and announced the signing of the Rafale deal.

"...Finance Ministry plays an important role in these negotiations...Now it is clear that the Rafale deal happened under Rajiv Mehrishi. Now he is CAG. We met him twice on September 19 and October 4, 2018. We told him about the scam. We told him that the deal should be probed because it is corrupt. But how can he initiate a probe against himself," Sibal had said.

4. PM Opened Door For Ambani: Rahul

Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday over a media report which claimed the government waived anti-corruption clauses in the Rafale deal, alleging he "opened the door" to allow Anil Ambani to "steal" Rs 30,000 crore from the Air Force.

Gandhi's scathing attack came after a report in The Hindu claimed the Rafale deal between India and France involved "major and unprecedented" concessions from the Indian government, with critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA). "NoMo anti corruption clause. The Chowkidar himself opened the door to allow Anil Ambani to steal 30,000 Cr. from the IAF," Gandhi tweeted tagging the report.

The government, as well as Ambani, have strongly refuted allegations of any wrongdoing in the fighter jet agreement with France.

Last week, the Congress president had demanded answers to questions raised by another report in the newspaper that the PMO conducted parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal.

Repeating the "Chowkidar" epithet, he ramped up his attack on the prime minister and said it was clear "crystal clear" that the "watchman" is the "thief".