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


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

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