New Delhi: In a revelation that has the potential to turn the tables in the government-opposition war over the much debated 2G spectrum allocation scam, a key retired officer of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has said that he was forced to sign the controversial report on the scam.
The Indian Express reported on Friday that RP Singh, former director general, Post and Telecommunications at CAG, has said that he was made to sign the controversial report that pegged the 2G scam presumptive loss at a whopping Rs 1.76 lakh crores, even though he had disagreement with the report’s findings.
Singh, who was the officer behind the CAG’s 2G spectrum allocation audit, revealed that officials of the auditor had met senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who is also the chairman of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), at his residence on a holiday to assist him in the preparation of the report on the 2G spectrum allocation.
It may be noted that the PAC report on the CAG’s 2G findings had strongly criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Attorney-General GE Vahanvati for their roles in the spectrum allocation.
Congress members in the PAC, about half of the total 21 members, had dismissed the report. Joshi had however submitted the PAC report to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on April 30, 2011 without the signatures of the Congress members. The Speaker had then returned the report.
Singh said that CAG officials had paid a visit to Joshi’s house on the Good Friday holiday on April 22, 2011.
“I got to know from my team members that CAG officials including senior CAG officials from headquarters went to the PAC chairman’s residence and assisted him in preparing the PAC report. I cannot say with certainty what exactly transpired at the meeting,” Singh told The Indian Express.
Asked if there was an attempt by the PAC chairman to influence the outcome of the CAG’s 2G report before it was tabled in Parliament, Singh said “it appears” from a note prepared by RB Sinha, D-G at CAG headquarters, that there were “some telephone calls by the PAC chairman to access the 2G report which was under preparation”.
On the CAG’s report, Singh said: “This was not my report. It was CAG’s (the institution’s) report. What can I do as a subordinate when the CAG (Vinod Rai) has issued written instructions on how he wants the report? I sent a report which calculated a loss of Rs 2,645 crore. This was on May 31, 2010. After this my audit team was attached with CAG headquarters under Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta. I was not involved in the inclusion of auditing the Ministry of Finance. In July 2010, I was sent a heavily revised report, and asked to issue (it) to the Ministry of Finance and Department of Telecommunication. There was little I could do when I got a written instruction.”
Singh had retired in September 2011. He has also deposed before the JPC into the 2G scam.
Murli Manohar Joshi has rejected Singh’s claims as baseless. He described it as the government’s bid to defame the CAG.
The Congress, meanwhile, accused the BJP of misusing the CAG.
Speaking to reporters, I&B Minister Manish Tewari said both the CAG and PAC chairman should reply to the charges. Issues raised by RP Singh should be probed, Tewari added.
Union Minister Kamal Nath said the claims needed to be probed.
Also, a CPI leader said Joshi owes the nation an explanation.