2G: JPC grills Fin Min officials, CAG next in line

Last Updated: Monday, October 31, 2011 - 23:08

New Delhi: The Joint Parliamentary Committee
on Monday grilled top officials of Finance Ministry for its
failure to provide it the controversial March 25 note on 2G
even as it decided to call CAG Vinod Rai and a former senior
official of the government auditor on presumptive loss issue.

Secretary, Finance R S Gujral and Secretary, Department
of Economic Affairs, R Gopalan appeared before the JPC to
explain why the Finance Ministry did not submit the note --
which indicated that had then Finance Minister P Chidambaram
insisted, the 2G spectrum could have been auctioned-- to the
panel.

Committee Chairman P C Chacko told reporters that Gopalan
told the panel that during its July 7 briefing, the Finance
Ministry had covered all "relevant documents and facts
available on files to JPC". The official said the note was a
background paper consisting of ex post facto facts.

To a pointed query by Chacko on the failure of the
Ministry to provide the document, Gopalan said the note did
not add to any relevant facts covered in the July 7 briefing.

"While not going into the merits of the note, the
Committee took serious note of the fact that number of papers
referred to in the note and files relating to preparation of
note had not been furnished to JPC for perusal," Chacko said.

The Finance Ministry top brass has been asked to provide
the documents to the committee and appear before it on
November 14.
With the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore presumptive loss in
2G spectrum allocation being disputed, CAG Vinod Rai and other
officials of the government auditor have been asked to appear
before the JPC on November 14.

The March 23 note says "some of the interpretations
now put forth on detailed analysis of records/correspondences
are at variance with the replies sent to PAC and CAG earlier."

The official says the note may be put up to the Finance
Minister for his perusal before it is shared with the Cabinet
Secretariat and the Prime Minister`s Office.

Referring to the draft performance Audit report on the
issue of licences and allocation of 2G spectrum by the DoT,
the note says the Finance Ministry had forwarded its comments
on "each of the issues" raised in the draft report to DG
(Audit).

"These two replies were sent without the perusal by
Finance Minister," it adds.

But in January, 2011, while sending copies of these
replies to the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and
the Cabinet Secretariat, the Finance Minister was informed.
"We had also submitted extracts of the relevant files as
required by the PAC vide letter dated February 17, 2011 to PAC
Branch of Lok Sabha Secretariat with copy to Cabinet
Secretariat with the approval of the Finance Minister..." the
note says.

PTI



First Published: Monday, October 31, 2011 - 23:08

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