New Delhi: In a major embarrassment for PMO minister V Narayanasamy, who had earlier denied saying that the government was considering making CAG a multi-member body, has been caught in an audio tape that he had indeed made the comments, according to a news report.
News agency PTI has released the audio of what the minister had actually said.
In the audio, the minister was directly asked a question on whether the government was considering making CAG a multimember body and he said that the government was actively considering it. This directly contradicts Mr Narayanasamy's denials of the same.
On Monday, the Press Trust of India had said that the minister had disclosed that the government is actively considering converting the office of the CAG or Controller and Auditor General into a committee with three members.
However, Mr Narayanasamy said that he had been misquoted.
The entire controversy came under a sharp attack from political parties which have warned that any such attempt may boomerang and vowed to oppose it inside and outside Parliament.
Reacting to Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy's interview to PTI in which he had talked about consideration of a proposal to make CAG a multi-member body, Congress made it clear that government would not make institutional measures based on the activities of "a person" (incumbent CAG).
The Minister has since sought to retract his statement.
However, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari, who avoided a direct comment on the CAG issue, spoke of the multi-member experiment of the Election Commission which he said has stood in "good stead over the decades".
Attacking the government, BJP said Narayanasamy's remarks on the CAG issue was a "disturbing attempt" to reduce the authority of the Constitutional body.
"BJP takes serious objection to this disturbing attempt by the government...We seriously apprehend that this remark of the minister is not an off-the-cuff remark," BJP Chief Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
"We would like to warn this government that any attempt to reduce the authority of CAG and compromise the constitutional integrity of the state institutions will be seriously opposed both inside and outside the Parliament," he said.
UPA's outside ally Samajwadi Party and the Left parties too joined the criticism of the government over the proposal and questioned the timing of such a talk when the CAG had brought out damaging reports on 2G and Coal block allocations and Commonwealth Games.
With PTI inputs
First Published: Monday, November 12, 2012, 19:25