Cong MPs may face privilege motion for criticising CAG

Written by Nistula Hebbar | Nistula Hebbar | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 3 2011, 07:08am hrs
Congress MPs in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament who demanded that Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai leave a meeting of the PAC before the deposition of his former colleague R P Singh, could face breach of privilegde proceedings.

These members had reportedly said that R P Singh could not possibly depose in Rais presence, as they had given different estimates of the losses accruing from the 2G spectrum scam.

While Rai, in a written communication to PAC chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on Wednesday, denied reports that he had dared members to impeach him over the 2G scam loss estimation controversy, the very fact that MPs had cast aspersions on his probity could, senior MPs said, be considered adequate grounds for a priviledge motion.

The CAG is a constitutional figure and nobody can cast aspersions on his probity and intentions, said a senior Opposition MP Joshi is said to be consulting experts on just what would be the future course of action in the matter whether the CAG could be asked to leave a meeting of the PAC, of which he is considered a friend, philosopher and guide for any particular deposition.

There have been two instances when the CAG was criticised but MPs had to backtrack. In the 1960s, then defence minister V K Krishna Menon had raised objections against a CAG report in Parliament, but he was checked by the Speaker. In the 1980s, K P Unnikrishnan had raised objections about a CAG report on petroleum. But even then the Speaker had asked him not to cast aspersions on CAG, while allowing him to initiate impeachment proceedings.

The estimation of the loss to the exchequer due to the 2G scam has become a contentious issue now with the CAGs outer limit of the estimate R1,76,000 crore being challenged.