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Mehrishi has dealt with Defence's expenditure proposals is figment of imagination: FinMin

New Delhi, Feb 11 (UNI) Clearing the dust over “conflict of interest” charge vis-à-vis the Rafale deal, the Finance Ministry on Monday said Economics Affairs Secretary would have dealt with the expenditure proposals from the Defence Ministry is “totally a figment of imagination and stretch of facts”.
A Economics Affairs Secretary does not deal with expenditure proposals from the Defence Ministry rather it was expenditure department which handles financial sanctions relating to all Ministries of the Government, the Finance Ministry said in a statement here.
The Finance Ministry said Mr Rajiv Mehrishi – present Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) -- had joined the Department of Economic Affairs as Secretary on October 31, 2014. Being the senior most secretary among the five secretaries of the five departments of the Ministry -- Economic Affairs, Expenditure, Financial Services, Revenue and Investment & Public Assets Management -- he was designated as the Finance Secretary on November 11, 2014.
He continued as Secretary of the Economic Affairs and Finance Secretary till August 31, 2015 when he demitted office, the Ministry said in a statement here.
The Ministry added: “It is a matter of convention that the senior most Secretary is designated as Finance Secretary and while he assumes a co-ordination role, he continues as Secretary of his own department.”
It is pertinent to point out here that it is the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance which deals with financial sanctions relating to all the ministries of the Government and in that capacity, any files relating to defence procurement would be dealt with by the Secretary, Department of Expenditure and not by Mr Mehrishi as Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs.
The row escalated on Sunday when the Congress accused Mr Mehrishi of conflict of interest as he was Finance Secretary during negotiations of the Rafale deal.
The Narendra Modi government has to submit the CAG report on the deal in Parliament in coming days.
Later, Union Minister Arun Jaitley countered the party saying even after ten years in Government former UPA ministers were feigning ignorance.
"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," Mr Jaitley tweeted.
He clarified that the Secretary (Economic affairs) has no role in expenditure files of the Defence ministry.
UNI SW 2232
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