2G scam: CAG briefs Parliament’s PAC

PM Manmohan Singh has also formally written to the PAC to depose before it.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The country’s top auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General, appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday to explain how a report by the authority, filed six weeks ago, put the loss to the nation on account of the “irregularities” in the 2G spectrum allotments at Rs 1.76 lakh crore

CAG Vinod Rai appeared before the 22-member PAC, chaired by Bharatiya Janta Party MP and veteran parliamentarian Murli Manohar Joshi, at 11 am in Parliament House.

He apprised the committee of how the audit looked into
the whole issue.

The meeting is scheduled to go on through the day, with only a two-hour break in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after the announcement last week, today formally wrote to the PAC chairman expressing his willingness to depose before him in connection with the case.

Submitted to Parliament on November 16, the 96-page CAG report said the presumptive loss to exchequer through spectrum allocation to 122 licencees and 35 dual technology licencees in 2008 was Rs 1,76,645 crore.

It had indicted former communications minister Andimuthu Raja for allotting radio frequencies to new telecom players at low prices, and even ignoring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s advice.

The PAC is reported to have already obtained valuable information on the entire issue from the DoT, Finance Ministry, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and experts in the telecom sector through oral deposition and written submission.

In its last meeting, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura is understood to have told the panel that all decisions related to spectrum allocation were taken by Raja and he only carried out the orders.

Reports further claimed that Behuria has said that communication between the PMO and Raja were enough to indicate that decision-making powers were confined only to the minister.

As a prelude to today’s deposition by the CAG, the PAC had, last week, sought views and suggestions from individuals and organisations on the alleged scam so as to facilitate deeper examination of the controversial 2G allocation issue.

In a notification, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said, “Taking into consideration the importance of the subject and the nationwide interest evinced in it, the Committee has decided to invite memoranda containing views and suggestions from various individuals, experts, associations, institutions, organisations interested in the subject matter.”

The committee has been examining the subject "Recent Developments in the Telecom Sector including Allocation of 2G and 3G spectrum" since June and has asked for views within next 15 days.

Politically, the CAG report has proved to be a hot potato for the government as the Opposition had gone all out in its attack and has been sticking to its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee as they feel that only a JPC can bring out the truth in what is dubbed as the "biggest scam in independent India".

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