Former CAG official sticks to 2G loss nos

Written by Nistula Hebbar | Nistula Hebbar | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 15 2011, 07:43am hrs
Former CAG official R P Singh, who differed with Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai in his estimation of the presumptive loss caused by the allocation of 2G spectrum, deposed before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and stuck to his stand that any presumptive loss was a mathematical guess".

Singh, who had, in his tenure as the director general of telecom audit at the CAG, pegged the losses at Rs 2,645 crore, far lower than the CAG's astounding figure of Rs 1,76,000 crore, was examined by the JPC on Monday. Coming out of the deposition, he said he had stuck to his stand.

In his testimony, sources say, Singh also referred to the fact that both the Cabinet and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had not recommended that 2G spectrum be auctioned. Trai recently referred to this fact and warned the CBI that any losses would be presumptive and prone to error. Singh said that his figure was not based on presumptive loss but on real loss, and that it was based on the difference between the entry fee in 2001 and at the time of spectrum allocation, said a source in the JPC. He had rejected the loss calculation done by the field audit team, which pegged the loss at Rs 26,685 crore, as he felt it was not backed by conclusive evidence.

Singh also said that the revenue optimisation was not an audit objective while auditing the allocation of the 2G spectrum which was added as an objective later.

Singh and CAG Vinod Rai had differences over the quantum of loss to the exchequer due to the 2G spectrum allocation. Documents brought to light through a Right to Information (RTI) application showed up the conflict between Rai, Singh and another CAG official, Rekha Gupta.

Singh also said that he was the nodal officer on the audit and when the director general-reports in the CAG in a letter dated October 20, 2010 asked him to clear the report on the same day, sign the final page and send it. Singh said that he signed as asked and even managed to read the whole report before sending it on.

Asked whether he stood by the final report, Singh said that he did and later added that he stood by the parts which were contributed by him.

UPA members of the JPC had been demanding for sometime that both Rai and Singh be quizzed on the matter. While Singh deposed today, Rai will be deposing tomorrow. Singh's testimony would come as a breather for the ruling dispensation.