Sibal has right to comment on CAG report: Cong

Congress on Saturday stood behind Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, who has criticised the report of CAG into 2G Spectrum scam.

New Delhi: Congress on Saturday stood behind
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, who has criticised the report of
CAG into 2G Spectrum scam, saying the minister concerned has a
right to comment if thinks something is wrong with the report
but refrained from committing that it was the party stand.

"I do not think he was undermining the authority of any
constitutional body. He as a minister has the relevant papers.

If a wrong message has gone in the country with some report
and he has documents to prove otherwise, he can express his
views," party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told reporters.

At the same time, Ahmed remained non-committal on whether
Sibal`s remark on CAG report is the party`s official stand,
saying, "There is no question of backing or distancing from
Sibal. Sibal as telecom minister has the relevant papers."

"Only he can explain on what basis he has commented on
the arithmetics of the report. How can the party say what is
right or wrong in the report. The party does not have these
documents."

To a question on whether Sibal`s remarks suggest that
the case against former telecom minister A Raja is factually
wrong, he said, "Sibal has relevant papers. Only he is in a
position to comment on internal matters of Telecom Ministry."

While the party officially backed Sibal, some leaders
speaking on the condition of anonymity felt that it was not
good for a government functionary to attack a constitutional
body publicly in harsh terms.

Party leaders have earlier also been questioning the
veracity of the CAG claims but it was for the first time that
a government functionary went on record making a strident
criticism of the CAG.

Sibal had yesterday said that there was "no loss at
all" to the exchequer due to allocation of licences and 2G
spectrum in 2008.

The period pertains to his predecessor A Raja who was
forced to quit on the issue of alleged scam in spectrum
allocation on which the Comptroller and Auditor General had
come out with a report including the presumptive loss figure.

"We believe the exercise (by CAG) was fraught with very
serious errors which resulted in a kind of sensationalism
which has allowed the Opposition to spread utter falsehood to
the people of India and we object to it...We are extremely
pained at the methodology adopted by CAG. Some figures have no
basis whatsoever," Sibal had told a press conference.

Reacting to the Telecom Minister`s contention that the
presumptive losses projected by the CAG was "erroneous", BJP
leader and Public Accounts Committee chairman M M Joshi said
in Guwahati, "In my opinion, it is highly improper. The CAG
has never said that it is the exact amount. Mr Sibal should
have read the report carefully."

Asked to comment on Joshi`s statement, Ahmed said,
"Documents are either with Sibal, who is Telecom Minister or
or with Joshi. The party does not have any document. The party
cannot say anything on it as the party has nothing to do with
it. How can the party say what is factually correct and what
is not."

PTI

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