CAG did disservice by tossing `mythical` numbers: Manish Tewari

Union Minister Manish Tewari on Monday took pot shots at CAG Vinod Rai asking why Rs 1.78 lakh crore was not generated in the 2G auction and invited him to a public debate to discuss the loss estimated by the auditor.

New Delhi: Taking on CAG Vinod Rai over the 2G spectrum loss figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, Union Minister Manish Tewari today said the chief auditor had done a "disservice" to the India story by bringing out "hugely exaggerated and mythical numbers" in public discourse.

Tewari also invited Rai to a public debate over the loss estimate in the allocation of 2G spectrum.

"We`ve seen this great debate around certain hugely exaggerated and mythical numbers which have been thrown in public debate by certain very responsible institutions and functionaries. And with due respect, because the gentleman is supposed to retire the day after... I think when institutions start indulging in fiction writing that is the greatest disservice that can possibly be done to an issue," he said.

The minister was speaking at an event here organised by the Observer Research Foundation.

"I think the CAG over the past six years, with all due respects to him, has done the greatest disservice to the India story by tossing mythical numbers into the public space which had no relation to reality," Tewari added.

Later, Tewari speaking to reporters wondered why Rs 1.76 lakh crore was not generated in the 2G auction and invited Rai to a public debate on the issue.

"The (CAG) report had said that if an auction is held, it would yield a revenue to the tune of Rs 1 lakh 76 thousand crore.

The fact is that an auction was held. But where is that Rs 1 lakh 76 thousand crore?" Tewari asked.

"Now that the CAG is retiring, he is giving full fledged interviews, he`ll have time on his hands. So all I am requesting is that at a time and place of his choosing, he can even do it a month or two later -- once he settles down after retirement, lets have a full fledged public debate on his 2G report and let the people judge for themselves," he said.