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CAG slams Sibal over public criticism of its 2G report

The government auditor said that public statements on its report on 2G spectrum are "highly improper" as the matter is under consideration of PAC.



New Delhi: Hitting out at Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and others, the government auditor CAG on Wednesday said that public statements on its report on 2G spectrum are "highly improper" as the matter is under consideration of a Parliamentary Committee.

"Making public comments on the matter which is being
considered by a Parliamentary Committee is highly improper and
may even amount to contempt of the House," Comptroller and
Auditor General (CAG) said in a statement.

Sibal had recently slammed the CAG for its report on 2G
spectrum allocation, saying that its projection of Rs 1.76 lakh
crore as presumptive loss on account of 2G spectrum allocation
was "utterly erroneous".

The minister`s view was later supported by Congress MP
and spokesperson Manish Tewari, who lashed out the CAG for
violating canons of Parliamentary propriety.

"The CAG after holding a live press conference on 2G
spectrum issue is now advising MPs not to comment on it
because the matter is being considered by PAC.

"It is an exotic logic that after going live with
presumptive losses contained in CAG report in flagrant
violation of canons of Parliamentary propriety, now CAG is
resorting to argument of propriety," Tewari had said
yesterday.

As per rules of Parliamentary procedure, the CAG said,
"When any matter is under consideration of a Parliamentary
Committee and the Committee is holding its sittings for that
purpose, no persons, including a Member of Parliament should
make or publish a statement or comment about that matter".

Sticking to the rules, CAG said, it did respond to the
public statements or on media reports as the report was under
the consideration of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of
Parliament.

"It is in obedience to this Rule (para 1.12 of the Rules
of Parliamentary Procedure) the CAG, who is an important
adjunct of the PAC and attends all its meetings, did not make
any comment on media reports on comments made by others on the
report of the 2G Spectrum allocation, as it was under
discussion of the PAC," it said.

The meetings of the PAC on the 2G Spectrum Audit Report
began from December 27, 2010 and are continuing.

Putting things in "proper perspective", CAG said that
under Article 151 of the Constitution, the auditor submits its
report to the President who causes them to be laid before
each House of Parliament.

The audit report on the issue of licenses and allocation
of 2G spectrum by the Telecom Department placed in Parliament
on November 16, 2010.

"Once the report has been placed on the Table of the
House, it becomes a public document," CAG said, adding
thereafter its officials held a press conference to explain
the findings to the media.

The practice of holding press conferences after the
submission of the report, it added, was being followed since
1980s.

"In this case the press conference for briefing the
media on the audit report on the issue of licenses and
allocation of 2G spectrum was held by Rekha Gupta, Dy CAG in
the office after 3.00 pm on November 16, 2010, itself, after the
report was placed in the Parliament," it said.

The report, CAG added, was simultaneously placed on the
official website of the auditor.

Congress spokesperson Tewari had accused the CAG of going
public with the report even before it was tabled in
Parliament.

"First of all CAG went public with the report, when it
should have been tabled on the floor of Parliament and would
have automatically gone for the consideration of the PAC,"
Tewari had said.

PTI

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