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CAG as much responsible for Parl disruption as BJP: Cong

September 10, 2012 20:45 IST
In a stinging attack on the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Congress on Monday alleged the government auditor was as much responsible as the Bharatiya Janata Party for the disruption of the just-concluded monsoon session of Parliament on the coal mine allocation issue.

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari also sought to make a major issue out of a telephone call by a senior BJP leader to the CAG on a yet-to-be-tabled report by wondering whether the "meeting of minds" was mere coincidence or there is more to it.

Tewari asked whether the CAG was "misusing" the credibility given the fact that "repeated errors" are being manifested in its reports.

Asked whether the CAG Vinod Rai is following in the footsteps of his predecessor T N Chaturvedi, he remarked "if history repeats itself once, it is a tragedy. If it repeats twice, it is a farce. I can only say the trajectory of coincidences are uncanny".

"That is something you have to infer yourself whether the is congruence is institutional or whether it is personal", he said when asked whether Congress' attack was on the CAG as a person or on the institution. Chaturvedi's report on the Bofors issue way back in late eighties had led to the entire opposition resigning from the Lok Sabha. Chaturvedi had later joined BJP and became an MP and later a governor.

Referring to the CAG finding of Rs 1.86 lakh crore "presumptive gain" to private players in the coal block allocation issue, Tewari claimed "there are very serious questions not only about computing methods but also on the basis on which they are structured".

The spokesperson said the CAG's "notional figures" had caused embarrassment for the country and that independent experts had questioned the reports.

Reacting to a question that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that he and the government respected the office of the CAG, the spokesperson said there was no divide on this between the PM and the party.

Picking "holes" in the CAG's reports, Tewari said that in the last 22 months, the auditor has been "tossing presumptive, hypothetical and mythical figures in public domain which has made public discourse toxic and raised roadblocks in governance..It is unfortunate that this phenomenon has become a distressing recurring pattern."

Citing an instance, he said while the annual budget of the Human Resource Development ministry is Rs 16,000 crore, the CAG says the ministry has not accounted for Rs 1,16,000 crore. "Will you call it mere an oversight,"" he added.

Seeking to highlight the plight of the government in such a scenario, Tewari said observations by a body, which carries the weight of the Constitution creates a very peculiar situation around the country.

To a query whether the CAG has any personal enmity towards the Congress, he said the question is not one of personal enmity or who appointed the CAG but the basis of the reports which have been questioned by experts in various fields.     

Asked to name the BJP leader who has talked to the CAG, the spokesman remarked "let first BJP deny any such thing and then the name will come to the fore".

Tewari ducked questions on the CAG reports on BJP-ruled states like Chhattisgarh and Gujarat saying if they had any difficulties they should come out with facts as "we had picked holes in various CAG reports".

"The charges of double standards lies at the doorstep of BJP," he said adding the opposition party plays different roles at the Centre and in the states ruled by it.

Citing the criticism made by a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board E S Parthasarathy of the CAG, he said the official has demanded that the government auditor apologise to the President, Parliament and the people of India for making "unpardonable misrepresentation" of the Atomic Energy Act in one of its report.

Replying to questions, he dismissed questions about any possibility of impeachment of the CAG.

 

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