The comments by a former official of CAG over the report on 2G spectrum allocation on Friday kicked up a row with Congress president Sonia Gandhi suggesting that BJP had been exposed while the government demanded answers from Parliament's PAC chief M M Joshi over his alleged role.
Joshi, a senior BJP leader, rejected allegations by R P Singh, former Director General, Posts and Telecommunications in CAG, that he had tried to influence the outcome of the 2G report and questioned why the official had not spoken about it in Public Accounts Committee (PAC) when he appeared before it.
“Yes, certainly I think so,” said Gandhi when reporters asked whether BJP had been “exposed” by Singh's comments.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said Joshi as also Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) should clear the air on the issue.
“The issues raised by R P Singh, former DG, P&T, in CAG are very germane. What is extremely important is that in May 2010 when the draft report was prepared, the loss was quantified at Rs 2,645 crore, but in November 2010 when the report was presented in Parliament, this loss jumped to Rs 1.76 lakh crore. How did this leap of faith take place?” Tewari said.
Giving a twist to the allocation row, Singh has said a report prepared by him contained no losses on account of 2G spectrum allocation and questioned CAG's estimates of presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
“After completing the audit of Ministry of Telecom, which was under my direct charge, I prepared a draft audit report covering each and every aspect ... My report did not contain any loss figure,” he had said yesterday.
Tewari wanted to know as to who was responsible for increasing the presumptive loss figures and said this issue should be addressed by CAG.
“The second question is about propriety. PAC is supposed to independently exercise oversight over the reports of CAG. If what R P Singh has said is true about CAG officials actually taking assistance of PAC in the preparation of its report, does this not amount to a conflict of interest?” Tewari said.
He sought to know if this is a convention or a tradition which has been followed earlier and whether this was done officially or unofficially.
“These are questions that the PAC chairperson, Murli Manohar Joshi, for whom I have the utmost respect, needs to answer,” the minister said.
Law Minister Ashwani Kumar questioned the