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2G scam: Congress attacks CAG

After holding its fire for a day, Congress on Friday attacked the CAG questioning its stand that MPs cannot comment on its report on the 2G scam and wondered how its findings were leaked even before they were tabled in Parliament.



New Delhi: After holding its fire for a
day, Congress on Friday attacked the CAG questioning its stand
that MPs cannot comment on its report on the 2G scam and
wondered how its findings were leaked even before they were
tabled in Parliament.

Endorsing Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal`s criticism of
the report, it also asked why there was no reaction from the
Comptroller and Auditor General`s office when the opposition
leaders were commenting on its report.
At her AICC media briefing, Congress spokesperson
Jayanti Natarajan referred to portions of the CAG`s press
release on Wednesday and wondered whether there was any ruling
prohibiting MPs from commenting on matters lying before a
Parliamentary Committee.

Her briefing today was in sharp contrast to another
spokesperson Abishek Singhvi`s comments yesterday that the
comments of Sibal, CAG and the PAC were already in public
domain and the party would not not like to queer the pitch.

Natarajan also took exception to the CAG release
counseling restraint on the part of MPs while commenting on
its 2G spectrum report on the ground that it could be
"improper" and could amount to contempt of the Parliament..

"We are somewhat surprised and a little distressed
because this seems to contain a suggestion that MPs do not
have a right to speak on any issues when CAG report is being
examined by a Parliamentary committtee....it was a very strong
suggestion.
She said that as far they knew there was "no such
rule which prohibited an MP from speaking on an issue which is
being considered by a committee".

Natarjan said that as an MP she would take a serious
note of the CAG`s statement as the it concerned her right to
speak and also because the advice comes "from a body, which is
not a part of legislative structure".

The Congress spokesperson also asked why no such
reaction came from the auditor when the report was being
reacted upon by everybody including leaders from the
opposition parties.

"Whether the suggestion is confined to criticism of
the report," she asked, adding no no press release was issued
when there was a stream of comments from the leaders of
opposition.

Natarajan, however, parried a question about CAG`s
silence when BJP was commenting on the report.

"I am not pointing out any thing....there should be
one standard....there can be only one stand and there should
be one stand....the suggestion that only a particular aspect
would be improper was very surprising".

Natarajan also sought to know how details of the
report, including the amount of presumptive loss of
Rs.1,76,000 crore came into public domain even before the
report was tabled.

"I would like to how it happened and from where it
happened. When MPs are advised about proper conduct, how these
leaks come into public domain before the report is submitted
to Parliament", Natarajan said.

The spokesperson also made it clear that the party
endorses Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal`s comments on the CAG
slamming its report on the presumptive losses in 2G Spectrum
allocation.

"Yes we do support him on the issue" Natarajan said
when asked the party supports whatever Sibal said about CAG
report a few days back.

Natarajan today said "it was not an unanimous view"
when pointed out that PAC has criticised Sibal`s attack on CAG
in a decision taken unanimously.

A senior leader speaking on the condition of anonymity
said if anybody had to object to MPs speaking on an issue
under consideration of a Parliamentary committee, it should
have been PAC or Speaker and not CAG.

"It was sermons from the CAG. We are dismayed by the
tone and tenor of the CAG release," the leader said.

The leader also found nothing wrong in Sibal`s attack
on the CAG saying "what is wrong in the government putting
across its views on the CAG report."

PTI

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