CAG, PAC chief rubbish ‘nexus’ claim
New Delhi: Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai and Public Accounts Committee chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on Wednesday rubbished claims of a nexus between the two on the 2G spectrum allocation scam report.
Separately addressing a function here, Joshi said the PAC at no stage tried to interfere or influence the government auditor during the course of preparation of the 2G report.
"These allegations are totally false and baseless. It is an attempt with malafide intentions to malign the CAG and the PAC," he told reporters here.
His remarks comes in the wake of a fresh controversy that broke out with the surfacing of a letter from CAG official RB Sinha to Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta on July 13 last year which
suggested that Joshi had called up a CAG official to press for expediting auditing work into spectrum allocation.
Joshi said he had made the phone call only to inquire about status of the CAG report. He said the CAG had assured the PAC in its meeting on January 28, 2010 that he would
submit the 2G report within the next six months.
"The Committee has the right to ask the CAG where was the report he had said would be ready in six months," he said.
Pointing out that there were only two institutions – the PAC and the CAG -- that keep a close watch on the government, he accused the UPA of destroying them.
"I protest these attempts very strongly. The UPA should not try to dismantle these institutions... Will you attack the institutions because they are unravelling corruption...This
is constitutionally wrong and dangerous for democracy," he said.
Joshi said he had made the phone call on July 13 last year to RB Sinha, Director General (Report Centre) in the CAG because he was the nodal officer appointed by the government
auditor for the PAC.
To repeated questions on he seeking a briefing from the CAG on the 2G report, he said he was merely asking him about the status of the report which the CAG had promised would be
ready in six months.
"I asked him to explain the delay in the report. I never asked him to explain the contents of the report," he said. Joshi said the note in question was based on the
inference drawn by Sinha of his talk with him which was in Hindi.
The BJP leader also lauded Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for coming in defence of the institutions, including CAG.
Rai, on his part, made it clear that at no point the findings of the 2G scam report were shared with the PAC before it was tabled in the Parliament.
CAG Rai, meanwhile, said there was no pressure from any quarter with regard to the 2G audit which resulted in the estimation of 2G losses to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
Defending the loss figure, he further said that the 2G audit was neither shared nor influenced by PAC.
In response to queries from members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the 2G scam, Rai had said on Tuesday that the idea of ‘presumptive loss’ had statutory backing and cited the Income Tax Act 1961 to prove his point.
He said it was included in the Direct Tax Code (DTC) bill, pending before Parliament, as well. Earlier, Rai had also clarified that he did not refute Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s observation in his press conference in July that the CAG should not look at policy, and in his letter to the PM clarified to him some of the details that he found were missing in the briefing given to the Prime Minister.
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