Sibal refuses to join issue with Joshi over CAG report

Mumbai: Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday refused to join issue with PAC Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on the former's criticism of Comptroller and Auditor General's report on presumptive losses in 2G spectrum scam, saying he was not aware of the statement of the BJP leader.

"Joshi is a very respected member of Parliament. I am not aware of what he has said (on his criticism of CAG)," Sibal told reporters on the sidelines of a function at IIT- Bombay when approached for his comments.

Sibal said he can respond only after he has seen the (media) report.

The Telecom Minister had yesterday dubbed the CAG's figure of a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76-lakh crore as "erroneous" and said "it had no basis".

Joshi today slammed Sibal for debunking CAG estimates of losses of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, saying it was "improper" and demonstrated his "very casual" approach.

"In my opinion, it is highly improper. The CAG has never said that it is the exact amount. Sibal should have read the report carefully," Joshi said in Guwahati while reacting to Sibal's assertion.

Joshi, a former Union Minister, said the CAG had always maintained that the figures of loss were presumptive and that the government auditor had never said the figure of Rs 1.76 lakh crore was final.