2G scam: CAG faces tough questioning at JPC meet

The CAG had pegged presumptive loss to the exchequer on 2G spectrum allocation at Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

New Delhi: The CAG on Monday came in for some
tough questioning at a meeting of the JPC on its presumptive
loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer in 2G spectrum
allocation with some members questioning its mandate of
looking into a policy decision for arriving at the figure.

Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, who briefed the
JPC on the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and
spectrum during 1998 to 2009, maintained that the auditor
acted within its constitutional mandate.

During the meeting of the Committee, some members pointed
that telecom regulator TRAI had taken a "definite decision"
that the spectrum 800-900-1800 Mhz bands should not be

"That being a decision of TRAI and that being a policy
decision, how come the CAG has come to the notional loss of Rs
1.76 lakh crore...policy is not a matter which is a subject
matter of audit. It is a government decision," JPC Chairman P
C Chacko told reporters here quoting members.

He said some members also wanted to know whether the CAG
took into account the policy prescription of the government
before arriving at the figure of presumptive loss.

When asked about the reaction of the CAG on the issue,
Chacko said Rai maintained that the government auditor acted
"within mandate" while into the 2G spectrum allocation issue.

Sources said during the three-and-a-half hour long
meeting, Congress member Manish Tewari sought to know the
constitutional mandate of the CAG in looking into policy
decisions of the government.

At this, Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) said besides following the
mandate, the CAG also follows certain conventions.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had dubbed "utterly
erroneous and without any basis" the estimated loss of Rs
1.76 lakh crore, arrived at by the CAG on account of 2G
spectrum allocation.

According to the CBI chargesheet in the 2G spectrum
allocation case, the loss to the exchequer is pegged at
Rs 30,984 crore.

Earlier this year, Rai had made a similar presentation
before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on
how he arrived at the figure.

PAC examines the CAG reports and tables its findings
to Parliament.


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